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Customs

Monday 18 January 2021

Will I have to complete any customs formalities after the date of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union?

Starting on the withdrawal date, once the Transitional period detailed in the Withdrawal Agreement is finished, the UK will be considered a third country and, therefore, goods that are shipped to or from the UK will be treated as if they were shipped to or from any other country with which the EU has not entered into any trade or other agreement that may affect customs formalities.
The agreement reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom does not eliminate custom formalities.

What will the situation be in Northern Ireland from 1st January 2021?

Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the United Kingdom, but it will continue to apply, the customs, VAT and Excise regulations of the European Union, among others, as far as trade in goods is concerned. Therefore, trade in goods with Northern Ireland will continue to be considered as intra-Community movements.

If I do not have any customs activity at this time, how may my company be affected by Brexit after the end of the transition period?

The shipping or acquisitions will be subject to export and/or import formalities that result in the need to present a customs declaration and be subject to the appropriate controls.

These declarations are electronic, so it is necessary to have the appropriate software available to carry out the shipping if it is done by the company itself, or hire a customs agent.

Internal development takes time, and depends on integration with the rest of the entity's management system.

Each company must analyse in detail the goods with which it works, knowing what their customs classification is, as the customs tariffs and other charges payable and the import/export authorisations or licences needed depend on this classification.

From the point of view of VAT, exports are deliveries that are exempt, and imports are subject to VAT that must be settled by customs.

VAT is paid within the tariff deadlines (10 or 30 days if a postponement is requested), unless you choose to defer the payment to the corresponding monthly statement. For this option, you must be entered in the REDEME system from November of the previous year.

From the point of view of special duties, the shipping or acquisition of products that are subject to Special Manufacturing Duties (hydrocarbons, alcohol and alcoholic drinks and tobacco) will be considered as shipping made to or from third-country non-EU territories, applying the tax treatment for imports and exports.

From the point of view of non-customs controls, the company must comply with EU legislation on commercial, health and phytosanitary quality established for perishables (labelling, commercial documentation and other additional documentation corresponding to each case). For the import of industrial products, the company must comply with the EU market requirements and conform to the essential safety requirements, as well as the specific technical regulations determined by EU regulations. In this case, companies must take into account that the trial and test reports issued by a notified body based in the UK will not be valid in the EU.

What happens if goods are sent before the end of the transition period and their dispatch or shipment are completed after it?

Once the transition period is over, EU rules will continue to be applied to cross-border transactions that began before the transition period with respect to the application of the Union Customs Code (UCC) and the VAT and excise duties rights and obligations for taxable persons.

Do I have to complete any formalities before presenting custom declarations?

The only printed authorisation for customs formalities is the EORI, which can be requested through the electronic office of the AEAT (Spanish Tax Agency). According to the type of tax ID number, it is possible that registration is ex officio, although all operators are advised to verify whether they are registered, and if not, apply for registration, since this is a census that is not subject to any compulsory reporting.

However, depending on the type and volume of activity, other authorisations exist that may be appropriate, such as:

  • Global guarantee authorisation, which allows the customs/VAT debt to be settled at 30 days.
  • Simplified declaration procedures.
  • Declaration for temporary storage.
  • Storage authorized for export merchandise (LAME)
  • Transit simplifications.
  • Special regimes.

Do I have to make declarations myself or can I use a customs representative?

Customs rules provide that any individual can act in his/her own name or use a representative under direct or indirect forms of representation. Customs representatives must be registered in the corresponding AEAT register provided to this end.

How must I fill in customs declarations?

All declarations are electronic. The guides for different messages are published on the web page of the Spanish Tax Agency.

I am an operator established in the UK but I am currently involved in customs activities in Spain. How will the withdrawal affect me?

You EORI number and the rest of the customs authorisations issued by the UK will no longer be valid starting from the withdrawal date. To continue to operate you must apply for EORI registration in another Member State, as well as the rest of the authorisations linked to this number.

As from 1 January 2021, must shipments and the receipt of products subject to Special Taxes be documented under the intra-EU EMCS system, with an electronic administrative document?

No. The intra-EU EMCS system is only applicable in relation to products that move under the suspension of excise duty regime between the territories of two Member States.

The UK's withdrawal from the EU means it is considered a third territory. Products that are subject to excise duties may not be moved to or from the UK under a suspension arrangement, nor will the EMCS system be applicable to such movements, which will be documented as imports or exports once the transition period has concluded on 31st December 2020.

The EMCS system will continue to operate and administrative electronic documents must be issued for the movements of products under a suspensive regime to or from Northern Ireland, a territory where the rules on excise duties of the European Union will continue to apply.

However, EU regulations on excise duties will apply to the movement of products subject to suspensive arrangements and in relation to the movement of products subject to consumption after their dispatch, if the movement has been initiated before the end of the transition period and concludes after it.

For operators that send goods to the United Kingdom.Will I have to comply with any customs formalities after the UK's withdrawal date from the EU after 1st January 2021?

Starting on the withdrawal date, the UK will be considered a third country and therefore goods that are shipped to the UK will be treated as if they were shipped to any other country with which the EU does not have any trade or other agreement that may affect customs formalities.

Among other formalities, this means that you will have to submit an export declaration to ship goods to or from the UK.

Will I have to pay tariffs and other import duties in the UK?

The agreement reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom foresees that no customs tariffs or other duties will be paid for good originating for either of the parties.

What implications with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom have on VAT after the end of the transition period (1st January 2021)?

Shipments of goods to the United Kingdom will cease to be considered intra-EU consignments for the purposes of VAT rules and will become exports. For these purposes, the export declaration will substantiate the exemption on any export shipment.

However, EU law on VAT will apply with respect to goods dispatched or shipped from a UK territory to a territory of a Member State, and vice versa, if the dispatch or shipping has begun before the end of the transition period and ends after it.

What implications will the withdrawal of the United Kingdom have on Special Taxes after the end of the transition period (1st January 2021)??

These will become exports to a third country and, as such, these shipments will need to be processed (see frequently asked questions for operators that send products to the United Kingdom). The shipment of products subject to Special Taxes to the United Kingdom will cease to be considered movements between Member States, and hence the procedures on intra-EU movements provided for in Directive118/2008 will not be applicable.

Hence, products subject to Special Taxes may not be shipped under the suspension system, nor will procedures for guaranteed shipments or remote sale be applicable for the cases of movements with paid tax, withouth prejudice to the aforementioned particularity as regards Northern Ireland.

What procedure should I use to send products subject to Special Taxes to the United Kingdom?

The shipment of products subject to Special Taxes to the United Kingdom will be performed using the procedure provided for in the Special Taxes Act for exports.

For operators that bring over goods from the United Kingdom. Will I have to complete customs formalities after the date of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union on 1st January 2021?

As from the withdrawal date, the UK will be considered a third country and, therefore, goods from the UK will be treated as if they were from any other country with which the EU does not have any trade or other agreement that may affect customs formalities.
Among other matters, this means that you will have to present an entry summary declaration, arrival notification, temporary storage declaration and customs declaration for any goods shipped from the UK.

What formalities and controls will goods from the United Kingdom be subject to after the end of the transition period?

Goods from the United Kingdom will be subject to customs supervision and control, which will mean, inter alia:

  • Application of the corresponding customs tariffs and levies.
  • Some goods will be subject to prohibitions or restrictions, or licences or authorisations issued by the competent bodies will be required for their entry.
  • Compliance with customs formalities (presentation of declarations required under customs rules).
  • The customs authorisations issued by the United Kingdom will cease to be valid in the EU. In addition, non-customs controls may apply.

Will I have to pay customs tariffs and/or other levies if I bring over goods from the United Kingdom?

As of 1st January 2021, customs tariffs or other duties (antidumping), VAT and excise duties (except for special arrangements) will be paid for imported goods from the UK.
The charges depend on the origin of the goods, their customs value, the price paid or payable in general with appropriate adjustments, and their customs classification.
With respect to origin, the agreement reached by the European Union and the United Kingdom provides for zero customs tariffs and duties for goods from any of the parties.
As regards to value, companies should review their Incoterms, as they may require adjustments (up or down) to be made on the value paid.
As far as VAT is concerned, their transactions will no longer be considered intra-Community acquisitions and will become imports for VAT purposes. The main consequence is that VAT will be settled with the import declaration and must be paid within the corresponding time limits. VAT is paid within the tariff deadlines (10 days, or 30 days if a deferment is requested), unless you choose to defer payment to the corresponding monthly statement. For this option, you must be entered in the REDEME system as from November of the previous year.

What procedure should I use to receive products subject to Special Taxes from the United Kingdom after the end of the transition period?

The receipt of products subject to Special Taxes from the United Kingdom will be performed using the rules and procedures provided for in the Special Taxes Act for imports.

Importation involves the accrual of the special tax or the possibility of including the goods subject to import under a suspension system through the figure of the registered consignor for shipment, with an electronic administrative document, to an authorized depositary within the scope of the European Union.

Can I receive products subject to Special Taxes with an electronic administrative document under the EMCS system after the end of the transition period?

No. The shipment of products subject to Special Taxes to the United Kingdom will cease to be considered movements between Member States, and hence the procedures on intra-EU movements provided for in Directive 118/2008 will not be applicable.

Hence, products subject to Special Taxes from the United Kingdom may not be received under the suspension system, nor may documents be used as provided for intra-EU movements, particularly electronic administrative documents.

Do I have to complete any formalities before submitting a custom declaration?

If you do not already have a registration and identification number for economic operators (EORI no.) you must apply for one on the AEAT website. You must also decide whether you wish to obtain other authorisations for customs simplifications (comprehensive guarantee, simplified declaration procedures, etc.)

What will happen as of 1st January 2021 to products subject to excise duties brought in from the UK?

They will be considered imports from a third country and their entry will have to be processed as such (see the FAQ for operators who bring in goods from the UK).

Will the intra-Community EMCS continue to apply as from 1 January 2021?

No. It will no longer be possible to send or receive any message to/from the UK through the EMCS intra-Community application once the transition period has concluded. However, until 31st May 2021 a period of cooperation has been agreed between the British authorities and the Member States of the European Union for the closure and completion of all those electronic administrative documents that protect the movements initiated during the transitional period and not yet finished on 1st January 2021.

How will the products originating in the EU and exported to trading partners under a preferential regime be affected, when they include raw materials or components from the UK?

Companies must take into account that after the end of the period input (raw materials, components and intermediate goods) from the UK will be considered of "non-EU origin". This is important within the framework of the preferential trading systems that the EU has with third countries, in which the EU origin of the goods has to be proved in accordance with the rules contained in the preferential agreement. The operator is advised to check whether the goods still have preferential EU origin and ensure that this origin can be proved.

In the case of goods that move between the two territories, if the movement begins before the end of the transition period and ends after it, in general the presumption of the customs status for EU goods will not apply. Any interested party must demonstrate the customs status and that the movement began before the end of the transition period (the latter through a shipping document).

Non official translation


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