The UK’s exit from the European Union – VAT, customs and excise duty

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union will inevitably have consequences for Indirect taxes.

To assist our members in preparing for the impact of leaving the EU and to better understand the issues arising, we have collated a wide variety of information. This collection is work in progress and will be updated as events evolve. 

The CIOT has been active in a number of areas relating to Brexit and Indirect Taxes. Whilst it is not our remit to enter into political debate, the unusually complex mix of legal and technical issues, contingent on political negotiation, makes tax technical analysis very challenging.

The EU law governing VAT, customs and excise duties has evolved, to varying degrees, into a mixture of directly applicable EU law and nationally enacted legislation. This law has developed over decades; its interpretation and meaning often being challenged and clarified in a large body of case law, both European and UK.

Parliament is tasked with legislating for an, as yet, unknown outcome, creating a unique and challenging situation. Businesses are told that it’s ‘business as usual’ and ‘nothing is agreed until it’s all agreed’.  More recently businesses have been advised by the Government to be prepared for what could be required of them in a ‘no-deal’ situation.

All of this adds up to uncertainty.

The uncertainty means there is a lack of meaningful legal and technical detail; leaving businesses, advisers, agents and Government struggling to plan adequately or with confidence for the changes that might (or might not) be necessary on expiry of the Article 50 deadline on 31 October 2019.