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Brexit and the guidance role of HM Customs & Excise in the import and export of goods

The importance of exporters  and importers of goods between the UK and the EU of looking at UK/EU trade-related tax guidance from HMRC (HM Customs & Excise - the UK government tax assessment and collection agency) should not be under-estimated.

By way of example, although not particularly Brexit- related, are the simplified arrangements of accounting to HMRC for call-off stock arrangements on UK-EU supplies of goods, which has led to HMRC publishing updated guidance on  its website on 20 April 2020. These new rules are designed to prevent suppliers having to register for VAT in the state of destination.

On 27 January 2020 HMRC had written to all UK VAT-registered traders in goods with the EU of whom HMRC was aware (with a more extended separate letter going to traders importing and exporting goods across the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland) drawing to their attention what needed to be done to prepare for life both during and after the end of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement transition period. The HMRC letters stated that further guidance would be provided in due course and the updated guidance on call-off stock arrangements should be viewed as part of that overall agenda.

No doubt exporters and importers of goods between the UK and the EU will bear all this in mind as we move towards the end of the transition period (currently due to expire on 31 December 2020).