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Brexit – The withdrawal agreement has been passed and yet everything has remained unchanged (to begin with)

On 29.1.2020, the EU Parliament ratified the “Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community” (Withdrawal Agreement). As a result, on 31.1.2020, the United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the EU.

Transition period until 31.12.2020

Arrangements for a transition period lasting until 31.12.2020 were set out in the Withdrawal Agreement and an extension is possible. During this period the aim is to conclude a trade agreement between the EU and UK in order to avoid Brexit turning into a Hard Brexit. Even though the UK is no longer in the EU, nevertheless, EU law will continue to apply during the transition period.

Value Added Tax

During the transition period, goods deliveries from the EU to the UK, or vice versa, will continue to be subject to the Directive on the VAT System and will thus still have to be classified as intra-Community supplies. The Withdrawal Agreement merely contains rules for transport or dispatch beyond the point in time when the transition phase has ended. You should take note of the deadlines for VAT refunds; these should be requested for 2020 by no later than 31.3.2021. As regards services, there will likewise be no changes during the transition phase, as far as we can tell.

Customs Law

EU customs laws will continue to apply. The free trade agreement between the EU states likewise applies in respect of the UK. There are uncertainties regarding the origin statement. Here, it is of significance that the UK has formally left the EU.

Please note: On 20.1.2020, German Customs provided information on this topic (in German) on their website (see under Warenursprung-Praeferenzen/WuP_Meldungen/2020/ wup_brexit_sachstand1.html).

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