Tax & admin · 14 September 2018

HMRC publishes VAT guidance in the event of no-deal Brexit

Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019, with a potential transition period lasting until December 2020 if the bloc agrees

What will the deal be with VAT in the event of a no-deal Brexit? HMRC has released guidelines to make business owners aware of both immediate and long-term changes if no trade agreement is struck with the EU.

As the Brexit countdown enters its final 200 days, HMRC has issued VAT guidance for business owners if the government returns without a trade agreement. The short version is that VAT is here to stay and broadly speaking, transactions with EU countries will be treated the same way as transactions with non-EU countries are currently treated.

There are a few examples of the changes – and yes, it is technical stuff, but “this is VAT”:

  1. VAT on imported goods

VAT on goods imported from anywhere in the world would be accounted for on the VAT return in the same way as you currently account for VAT on imports from the EU.

  1. Low Value Consignment relief

Low Value Consignment relief would be abolished for all incoming parcels from anywhere (it will probably be abolished anyway as it is the way the rest of the world is going).

  1. Tour Operators Margin Scheme

The Tour Operators Margin Scheme is an EU VAT accounting scheme and there is no indication how it would be replaced (trade consultations are ongoing).

Read more HMRC content:

  1. Mini One Stop Shop Scheme (MOSS)

Any business using MOSS, would have to register again in an EU member state.

  1. VAT registration numbers

Validation of UK VAT registration numbers would have to be done via a new service which “HMRC is developing”.

Commenting on the guidelines, Henry Ejdelbaum, managing director of AIMS Accountants for Business said although the final trading relationship was unclear, red tape would only increase in the event of no deal.

“I am sure you have all noticed that the government has issued the first round of ‘technical guidance papers’ to help us prepare for a no-deal Brexit ‘just in case’.

“Regardless of our personal views of the likelihood of this happening we need to be aware of the guidance so that we can be ready, if necessary. But one thing we do know already, red tape and administration burden will go up and not down.”

Read more about Brexit:

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and has previously worked as a content editor in local government and the ecommerce industry.

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