The European Commission published on the 30 January 2018 some useful clarifications on the effects of Brexit for economic operators after the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. The paper does not take into account any transitional arrangement which might be agreed before 30 March 2019.

Amongst others, the Commission has highlighted the following consequences:


  • Goods imported from the UK to the EU and vice versa will be subject to customs supervision and may be subject to customs controls. This implies that customs formalities apply, declarations have to be lodged and customs authorities may require guarantees for customs debts.
  • Certain goods may be subject to prohibitions or restrictions on ground of public policy or public security, protection of life of humans, animals or plants or the protection of national treasures.
  • Authorisations granting the status of Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) issued by the UK will no longer be valid in the customs territory of the Union.
  • Goods originating in the UK that are incorporated in goods exported form the EU to third countries will no longer qualify as “EU content”. This affects the ability of EU exporters to cumulate with goods originating in the UK and may affect the applicability of preferential tariffs agreed by the EU with third countries.

Indirect Taxation (VAT and Excise Duties)

  • Goods which enter the EU coming from the UK or vice versa will be charged with VAT at importation, while exporters will be exempt from VAT.
  • Taxable persons wishing to use the VAT Mini-One-Stop Shop (MOSS) will need to be registered in a EU Member State.
  • Electronic filing of VAT refunds between a EU Member State and the UK will be replaced by provisions under Council Directive 86/560/EEC.
  • UK companies carrying out taxable transactions in a Member State of the EU may be required to designate a tax representative as the person liable for payment of the VAT.
  • Products traded between the EU and the UK which are subject to excise duties will be considered as exports and no longer fall under the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS). Movements of excise goods to the UK will require an export declaration as well as an electronic administrative document (e-AD). Movements of excise goods from the UK to the EU will have to be released from customs formalities before a movement under EMCS can begin.