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CUSTOMS

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, 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 Withdrawal Agreement includes a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which European Union law will continue to apply in the United Kingdom with respect to the internal market, customs union and EU policies. The EU will treat the UK as if it were a Member State, except in terms of its participation in the EU institutions and the structures of government. In particular, during this period companies will not be subject to any customs formalities.

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.

Should Intrastat declarations be provided during the transition period?

Companies trading with the UK during this period must continue to submit the corresponding Intrastat declarations, even though for statistical purposes the UK will be considered a third country from 1 November.

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 the end of the transition period?

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.
  • 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.

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.

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?

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.

The Withdrawal Agreement includes a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which EU law will continue to apply in the UK with respect to the internal market, customs union and EU policies. The EU will treat the UK as it were a Member State, except in terms of its participation in the EU institutions and the structures of government. In particular, during this period companies will not be subject to any customs formalities.

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

During the transition period, no customs tariffs or other duties will be paid in the UK.

Unless other measures are established under a negotiated and ratified trade agreement, to know what measures will be applicable in the UK once the transition period ends, consult the information published on the following link.

What implications with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom have on VAT after the end of the transition period?

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?

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.

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.

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).

For operators that bring over goods from the United Kingdom

As from what date will I have to complete customs formalities after the date of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union?

As from the withdrawal date, the UK will be considered a third country and therefore goods from the UK will be treated as 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.

The Withdrawal Agreement includes a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which EU law will continue to apply in the UK with respect to the internal market, customs union and EU policies. The EU will treat the UK as it were a Member State, except in terms of its participation in the EU institutions and the structures of government. In particular, during this period companies will not be subject to any customs formalities.

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?

During the transition period, no customs tariffs or other duties will be paid for goods from the UK.

Unless a trade agreement is negotiated and ratified that establishes other measures, once the transition period has ended the import of goods implies the payment of customs tariffs and other duties (antidumping), VAT and excise duties (except for special arrangements).

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, if no agreement is reached the customs tariffs currently applicable to third countries with which the EU does not have any agreement will apply.

With respect to value, companies should review their Incoterms, as they may require adjustments (up or down) to be made on the value paid.

With respect to VAT, 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.

To know what measures will be applicable in the UK, check the information published on this link.

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.

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 the end of the transition period?

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 after the end of the transition period 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 after the end of the transition period if the UK withdraws?

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.

Non official translation