Goods moved between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021

Updated 18 May 2022

1. Overview

From 1 January 2021 following the end of the transition period with the EU the VAT rules applying to movements of goods from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) to the EU, or from the EU to Great Britain will be the same as those currently for transactions with countries outside the EU (with some exceptions).

This guidance explains how VAT will be charged and accounted for on movements of goods from Great Britain to the EU, and how businesses should account for VAT on goods they bring in from EU member states.

There is separate guidance for transactions involving the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Transactions involving the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and the EU will be subject to the Northern Ireland protocol.

1.1 Who should read this guidance

You should read this guidance if you are involved in the movement of goods between Great Britain and EU member states.

2. Bringing goods into Great Britain from the EU

Business to Business sales from EU business suppliers (previously known as acquisitions) will become imports. Businesses importing goods into Great Britain from the EU will need to make customs declarations for EU imports.

Business registered for VAT in the UK may be able to account for the import VAT on their return.

2.1 Business to consumer sales

EU businesses making supplies to consumers in Great Britain will no longer be making distance sales.

Find out how to account for VAT if you sell goods to consumers in Great Britain:

3. Sending goods from Great Britain to the EU

Sales to EU business customers (previously known as dispatches) will become exports. For VAT purposes, the supply will continue to be zero-rated and evidence of the movement must be kept by the seller. There will be changes to the reporting requirements for these supplies.

Sales to EU consumers will also become exports, following the same general rules as for business customers.

Read VAT Notice 703 to find out more about the rules for exports.

If you sell goods from Great Britain to the EU you will no longer need to complete an EC Sales List.

4. Margin schemes

Goods imported from outside Great Britain are not eligible for the scheme and normal VAT rules will apply. Read VAT Notice 702 for more information about how imported goods are treated for VAT purposes, and find out when you can deduct the VAT as input tax. Margin scheme goods removed to the EU will be exports and zero-rated under the normal rules for export. Read VAT Notice 703.

5. Accounting for VAT on vehicles, ships and aircraft

The EU rules for new means of transport will no longer operate in Great Britain.

Sales of all vehicles, ships and aircraft to and from EU destinations will be treated as exports and imports.

Special schemes are available for personal exports of vehicles and sailaway boats.

6. Removal of intra-EU simplifications

You will only be able to use triangulation if both of the following apply:

  • your business is operating under the Northern Ireland protocol or is registered for VAT in an EU member state
  • the goods are starting and ending their movement in Northern Ireland or EU member states

For transactions involving goods located in Great Britain you will no longer be able use the call-off stock simplification.

Find out more information about:

7. Fiscal warehousing

Where goods are moved between a fiscal warehouse in Great Britain and a fiscal warehouse in the EU or Northern Ireland, this will not be treated as a VAT-free movement. The goods will have to exit the fiscal warehouse in Great Britain and be subject to the appropriate VAT, before entering the fiscal warehouse in the EU or Northern Ireland.

8. Fulfilment House Due Diligence scheme

The fulfilment house due diligence scheme will now also apply to GB fulfilment houses that hold stock on behalf of EU businesses.