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1 January 2021Last updated 23 March 2021BREXIT: END OF TRANSITION PERIODFAQs ON TAX AND CUSTOMSThis document gives an overview of the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the single marketand EU customs union on the areas of taxation and customs as of 1 January 2021.These FAQs can serve as a first point of reference, providing general answers to the most commonquestions. For more detailed and precise information, however, you should contact your nationalauthorities and/or refer to the detailed guidelines, which are available on a wide range of issueson the Commission’s website.Throughout this FAQ, the term ‘UK’ refers to the territory of the United Kingdom includingNorthern Ireland. The term Great Britain or ‘GB’ refers to the territory of the United Kingdomexcluding Northern Ireland. A glossary of technical terms can be found at the end of this FAQ.ContentsEU-UK TRADE . 2EU-NORTHERN IRELAND TRADE . 9NORTHERN IRELAND-GREAT BRITAIN TRADE . 12PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT. 15TRANSIT . 20GOODS MOVING AT END OF TRANSITION PERIOD . 22VAT QUESTIONS . 23MOVEMENTS OF PERSONAL GOODS . 28SPECIFIC CUSTOMS PROCEDURES . 33GLOSSARY . 351

EU-UK TRADE1. I plan to begin or continue exporting to Great Britain (GB) after 1 January2021. What general customs procedures will I have to follow?As of 1 January 2021, customs formalities, like those applied on the movement ofgoods between the EU and any other third country, apply to all goods beingexported from an EU Member State to GB. There is no transition period for importsinto the EU. Formalities and relevant controls may lead to longer delays at customs.EU companies can prepare and help to mitigate these delays by taking a number ofsteps:You should obtain an EORI number (see Question 6 below) if you do not have onealready. You should also register in REX (see Question 28 below) in order to be ableto complete a statement on the origin of your goods if you want your exports tobenefit from duty free treatment.You need to file customs declarations when exporting any goods to GB or whenmoving your goods through GB.In general, goods being moved from the EU to GB must now also be covered by anexit summary declaration (EXS). This is required for security and safety purposes.The EXS declaration must be lodged within certain time limits, ahead of export, withthe customs authority of the country where the export starts (or where theexporting company is established), depending on how the goods are transported.National authorities can help you access and complete export and EXS declarationsand can advise on other procedures that you may need to fulfil.Import procedures for goods entering GB are also now in place, though the UK hasannounced that customs declarations can be presented for imports from the EUretrospectively during a transitional period ending on 30 June 2021. Please consultthe HMRC website for developments and procedures in the UK.2

2. I plan to begin or continue importing from GB. What general customsprocedures will I have to follow?If you wish to import from Great Britain, you should obtain an EORI number if youdo not have one already (see Question 6 below).You must submit an electronic declaration to customs in the Member State intowhich you are importing, or appoint a customs broker to do it on your behalf.In general, goods entering the EU from GB after the end of the transition periodmust also be covered by an entry summary declaration (ENS), which includes safetyand security information.The ENS declaration must be lodged within certain time limits in advance of thearrival of the goods with the customs authority where the first arrival in the EU willtake place.For more information on ENS and import procedures, see Sections 5.1 and 6 in ourguidance note.National authorities can help you to complete ENS declarations and advise on otherprocedures that you may need to fulfil.There will also be export procedures for moving the goods out of the UK. The HMRCwebsite will keep you up to date with developments and procedures in the UK.3

3. Will my company have to pay import duties on goods I want to importfrom GB?The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for zero tariffs and zeroquotas on all trade in goods originating in the EU or the UK. The zero tariff and zeroquota provisions apply to all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin(see section on Preferential Treatment from Question 25 below). This means thattariffs may apply to goods that are not EU or UK originating.The provisions in the draft EU-UK agreement do not govern trade in goods betweenthe EU and Northern Ireland, where the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Irelandnow applies (see next section from Question 14 below).4. Does my company have to pay excise duty on excisable goods that I wantto import from GB to an EU Member State?Excisable goods imported into the EU from GB are now subject to excise duties inthe EU. The rates of duty are set by the country where the goods are imported, orwhere the goods will be consumed if the goods are moved from the place ofimportation under excise duty suspension (see below).Entry of excise goods into the EU from GB is now treated as an import. The companyimporting the goods may pay the excise duty immediately, store them in a taxwarehouse or use EMCS for their onward movement to the final destination in theEU. For this last possibility, the appointment of a registered consignor is required.UK economic operators are no longer able to use the EMCS system inside the EU.Transactions of excise goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain are alsosubject to EU rules for the import or export of excise goods. Northern Irish tradersshould use the EMCS and follow EU procedures when moving excise goods to/fromEU Member States.4

See the Commission’s guidance for full information on the rules for excise goodsafter the transition period.5. Will there be tariff quotas on goods traded between the EU and UK?The draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for zero tariffs andzero quotas on all trade in goods originating in the EU or the UK, from 1 January2021. The zero tariff and zero quota provisions apply to all goods that comply withthe appropriate rules of origin. This means that tariffs may apply to goods that arenot EU or UK originating.You can assess whether your product satisfies those requirements here.6. I want to trade with GB and need to get an EORI number. What do I do?EU businesses and UK businesses established in the EU, that wish to import from orexport to GB, need to ensure they have an EU Economic Operators Registration andIdentification (EORI) number in order to complete customs formalities.EORI numbers previously issued in the UK are no longer recognised in the EU.EORI numbers are distributed by national authorities (a full contact list is available).Businesses should complete this step as soon as possible. If your company is notestablished in an EU Member State, you can still get an EORI number from the EUMember State where you will first perform customs formalities. Nevertheless, forcertain customs formalities (e.g. lodging an import customs declaration) you needto be established in the EU. In such cases, you must appoint a representative whocan carry out the formalities on your behalf.Businesses can hold only one valid EORI number at the same time.5

7. My EORI number was issued by the UK. Can I continue to use it to tradewith EU Member States?EORI numbers issued by the United Kingdom (1) are no longer valid in the EU.Non-EU businesses and traders established in the EU and that wish to continuetrading with the EU need to register with the EU customs authorities and apply foran EORI number, in order to complete the necessary customs formalities. Youshould register with the competent authorities of the EU Member State where yourcompany has a permanent establishment (a full contact list is available).If your company is not established in an EU Member State, you must either registerin the first Member State where you lodge a declaration or apply for a decision, oryou must appoint a customs representative to carry out the formalities on yourbehalf.8. Which geonomenclature codes should I use when importing or exportingto and from Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland, respectively?Geonomenclature codes are country codes used for the registration andidentification of traders, as well as for customs declarations, notifications and proofof the customs status of Union goods.As of 1 January 2021: The geonomenclature code to be used in the context of Great Britain (UKexcluding Northern Ireland) will be GB; The geonomenclature code to be used in the context of Northern Ireland willbe XI.(1) Except XI EORI numbers issued for Northern Ireland (see next question below).6

Full guidance on the future use of these codes following the end of the transitionperiod is available here.9. Is my authorised economic operator (AEO) status recognised in the UK?The EU and the UK have agreed to recognise certain aspects of each other’s‘authorised economic operators’ (AEO) programmes, enabling holders of the AEOstatus to enjoy some facilitations related to security and safety in their customsoperations with the customs authorities of the other party.Northern Ireland traders may continue to apply for AEO status through thecompetent UK authorities.10.I am a ferry operator that transports goods exported from the EU to GB.What new rules apply?Ferry operators carrying goods to Great Britain will have to electronically submit anexit summary declaration (EXS), including safety and security (S&S) information, forall the goods they are carrying, in advance of departure, unless the S&S has alreadybeen submitted with the export customs declaration.You can find more information through your national authorities. The HMRCwebsite should keep you up to date with developments and procedures in the UK.11.I am a ferry operator that transports goods from UK for import into theEU. What new rules apply from the end of the transition period?Ferries carrying goods into the EU from third countries are obliged to electronicallysubmit an entry summary declaration (ENS), which includes safety and security(S&S) information for all goods they are carrying, in advance of arrival in the EU.7

In addition, individual Member States may have other requirements or formalitiesthat must be completed. You can find more information in our guidance andthrough your national authorities.12.I plan to begin or continue exporting to GB. What prohibitions andrestrictions will apply?EU prohibitions and restrictions on the international movement of goods, such ason drug precursors and firearms now apply to goods imported from the UK to theEU, and vice versa. More details on prohibited and restricted goods are availablehere.13.What formalities do I need to fulfil to import agri-food products from GBinto an EU Member State?All consignments of agri-food products will have to be accompanied by healthcertificates. They will also have to undergo sanitary and phytosanitary controls atborder inspection posts on import. Certain procedural simplifications will beavailable for pre-listed establishments, however. For more information, see therelevant guidance.8

EU-NORTHERN IRELAND TRADE14. I am an EU business that wants to import or export goods directlyfrom/to Northern Ireland (NI) to/from an EU Member State. Are therenew procedures I need to follow?No. The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland now applies and EU rules forcustoms, VAT and excise duties continue to apply to all goods entering and leavingNorthern Ireland from/to the EU.This means that the rules that apply to the movement of goods between two EUMember States also applies to goods moving between Northern Ireland and an EUMember State, and vice versa.EU goods brought from an EU Member State to Northern Ireland, or vice versa, willbe treated as an intra-Union transaction. There will be no customs formalities. EUVAT rules will also continue to apply for transactions in goods.These operations should be declared in the VIES (VAT Information ExchangeSystem) listing.15. I plan to begin or continue exporting from Northern Ireland. Whatgeneral customs procedures will I have to carry out?The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland (the Protocol) means that EU rules forcustoms will continue to apply to all goods entering and leaving Northern Ireland.The purpose of the Protocol, which was agreed as part of the WithdrawalAgreement, is to avoid any customs checks and controls on the island of Ireland.There are therefore no changes in tax and customs for EU businesses trading goodsdirectly with Northern Ireland, as long as these goods stay within Northern Irelandor the EU.9

For customs, the Protocol m