Brexit Bites, 26 February 2021

Feb 25, 2021

This week’s Brexit Bites covers details of our latest edition of Brexit Digest which focuses on how the new trading environment has affected the application of VAT rules for goods in Ireland and the UK.  We also bring you developments from the European Commission on its data adequacy decision as well as a reminder to agri-food businesses in Ireland to prepare for new health certification requirements when exporting to Great Britain from 1 April 2021.

Latest edition of Institute’s Brexit Digest

In our latest Brexit Digest which issued on Wednesday, we focus on VAT on goods and how the new trading environment has affected the application of VAT rules in Ireland and the UK.  We examine the Postponed Method of Accounting for VAT in both countries, how to avail of the scheme and associated administration.  We also look at the changes to VAT reporting obligations and have also assembled recent Irish and UK government VAT guidance on the changes brought about by Brexit.  Read the newsletter.

EU and UK meet on implementation of NI Protocol

The Joint Committee overseeing the working of the NI Protocol met on Wednesday and both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the Protocol. A joint statement issued following the meeting did not indicate any agreement on significant changes to the Protocol.

Earlier this month, the UK had sought an extension to easements for supermarkets and their suppliers on post-Brexit checks on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland until 1 January 2023 which are due to expire on 31 March 2021, as well as finding a permanent solution for the chilled meat products moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland that are otherwise prohibited.  This grace period is due to expire on 30 June 2021.  

Following the meeting between UK Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, the statement said that “the UK noted that it would provide a new operational plan with respect to supermarkets and their suppliers, alongside additional investment in digital solutions for traders in accordance with the Protocol”.

UK data adequacy decisions issued by European Commission

The European Commission has proposed to issue the UK with 'data adequacy' decisions to facilitate the continued free flow of personal data from EU Member States to the UK.

The draft decisions of the Commission still need to be formally approved by representatives of EU Member State governments.

Two adequacy decisions for transfers of personal data from the EU to the UK would need to be adopted to enable data to flow as it did before Brexit, one under the General Data Protection Regulation and the other under the Law Enforcement Directive

Before going forward for approval by a committee composed of representatives of the EU Member States, the Commission's draft adequacy decisions will be scrutinised by data protection authorities from across the trading bloc through the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). However, the opinion of the EDPB in respect of data adequacy decisions is not binding on the Commission.

Under current terms, the UK will have to undergo a reassessment of its data protection rules within four years or else risk losing its status as a safe destination for EU data.

Read the formal statement from the European Commission

Agri-food businesses in Ireland reminded to prepare for new health certification requirements from 1 April 2021

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine this week reminded food business operates who export products from Ireland to Great Britain to make preparations for the new health certification requirements that the UK government will introduce from 1 April 2021.  This means that in addition to the customs formalities, Irish exporters sending goods to Great Britain need to have their importer pre-notify the UK authorities of these goods, get an Export Health Certificate from Irish authorities and move the goods together with the Export Health Certificates.

The new UK import controls will impact upon exporters of products of animal origin and regulated plants and plant products.

From 1 July 2021, the UK government will remove the facility for exporters to delay the lodgement of UK customs import declarations for imports into Great Britain and to pay the applicable customs and VAT charges (if any).

Information and other resources are available on the Government of Ireland website at: Preparing for new UK Import Controls (1 April, 1 July), and on gov.ie Exporting to the UK from Ireland.

Updated Guidance: The UK’s Goods Vehicle Movement Service

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service is for traders, hauliers and carriers who use a UK Port to move goods.  

  • Guidance for hauliers has been updated here.  
  • Guidance on registering for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service has been updated with new information about who should register for the service.  
  • Get a goods movement reference: Information about what you need to do to get a goods movement reference has been updated.
  • Check if a goods movement reference is valid: Information about hauliers moving goods from the EU to GB has been updated

Updated UK guidance on moving goods under transit

HMRC has a newsletter to help traders avoid some problems they may encounter when moving goods under transit:The most recent HMRC newsletter, has been updated with information on ‘French ports with the ‘smart border’ system’. For more information, and to view recent editions of the newsletter, click here