VAT and no Brexit deal
Whether you voted to remain or to leave the European Union, the drama (for want of a better word) involved in exiting the trading and political bloc has not stopped since June 2016. As part of its preparations for a no-deal post-EU world, the British government have been producing various white papers with the intention of giving UK businesses time to prepare for such an outcome.
With one third of all British businesses registered for VAT and many of those doing business with the European Union, what happens with VAT itself after March 29th 2019 may mean a lot of upheaval as we prepare for life after that date.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants recently welcomed the guidance produced by the UK government, but what is it that British businesses exporting to the EU need to know? Panthera Accounting summarises…
What are the current rules?
For business transacted by March 29th, 2019, we know the following for sure as they are the current rules we abide by:
- You charge VAT on most services and goods when you sell them in the UK or to another EU country
- If you sell goods to non-EU countries and businesses within the EU which are zero-rated, you don’t charge UK VAT at the point of sale
- For any services you sell, you charge and account for VAT at the rate within the country that supply those services
- If you export goods into the UK, VAT is payable. The VAT rate you pay depends on whether the goods themselves came from within or without the EU
- Goods you sell to consumers in the EU will pay either UK or EU VAT – which rate they pay is governed by distance selling thresholds.
Easy enough? But what will it be like without a deal? Below, we look at the latest government advice.
What are the current no-Brexit-deal proposals for VAT?
There is still a great deal of concern that the Brexit date may arrive before a VAT agreement is made. While this is rather unlikely, the government have released further guidance to “prepare for all eventualities, including ‘no deal’, until we can be certain of the outcome of [these] negotiations.”
So what can UK businesses expect if no deal is arranged by March 2019?
Goods imported into the UK
Without a deal, the same rules on import VAT will apply to exports from everywhere whether they’re in the EU or not. To assist UK businesses, your company will be allowed to account for import VAT on your return rather than having to pay it when the goods arrive in the country.
Goods arriving in the UK will be subject to import VAT (unless they’re zero rated in the UK) as well as on cars (with certain reliefs being applied to non-EU imports).
Goods your UK business exports to the EU
Currently, there is a complex system when applying VAT to sales by consumers based in the EU. You will now be able to zero rate all of your sales to personal EU customers.
If you sell to other businesses, you’ll be able to continue to zero-rate sales of all goods to those in the EU but you’ll no longer have to complete EC sales lists. When you do supply businesses, you’ll still have to keep proof that the goods have left the UK in case HMRC wants proof.
Services your UK business supplies to the EU
For financial and insurance products, there is no word yet on input VAT deduction rules.
For digital services, you’ll have to charge VAT at the rate set in your customer’s home country, still.
The UK will leave EU-wide VAT system arrangements
VAT MOSS will be no more for UK businesses. You’ll still be able to register for it but you’ll have to do so in a country which remains in the EU.
EU VAT refunds
Instead of using the current EU system, companies claiming VAT refunds from suppliers based in the EU will now use the same process that is currently in place for VAT refunds from non-EU companies.
VAT registration number validation (EU)
UK VAT numbers will disappear from the EU VAT registration number validation system although you will still be able to check potential customers and suppliers’ VAT numbers by using the current system. HMRC is setting up a UK-specific version for VAT number validation but there’s no specific launch date just yet.
Expert business and financial guidance from Panthera Accounting
For support and advice on VAT and all other business financial matters, please call us on 01235 768 561 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.