the new customs code and the impact on exports

16 August 2016

by Dries Torreele

The new customs code and the impact on exports

The new customs code and the impact on exports

Since 1 May 2016, the new Union Customs Code, the UCC, has entered into force in the European Union. This not only has consequences for customs regulations, it also has a direct impact on VAT. When you export goods out of the European Union, for example, and want to apply for an exemption from VAT, this will have concrete implications

Article 1 (19) of the Commission Delegated Regulation no. 2015/2446 concerning customs states that, as of now, the person listed on the export document (export declaration EX-A) must be the exporter that is directly involved in shipping the goods outside the EU. This person must be listed in Box 2 of the export declaration. Persons located outside the EU may never take on the function of the exporter for customs purposes.

In order to apply for an exemption of VAT on exports the VAT administration requires that the supplier is listed as the exporter on the export declaration. If the supplier is not the person directly concerned with shipping the goods outside the EU, then according to the UCC, he may not be listed in Box 2 of the declaration, which consequently will not be admissible as proof for VAT exemption.

A Belgian supplier sells products ex works to a Dutch customer who himself collects the products from the warehouse and then exports them to China. In this concrete example, according to the UCC, the Dutch customer must be listed in Box 2 of the export declaration. The latter is the person who decides to export the goods to China after all. The consequence is that the Belgian supplier is no longer listed as the exporter in Box 2 and this declaration cannot be used as proof for VAT exemption.

Solution: VAT decision E.T. 129.169
In order that the export declaration is not lost as proof for VAT exemption for exports the VAT administration has decided that the name and VAT number of the supplier must always be listed in Box 44 of the export declaration in order to be able to apply for the exemption.

In our example the Belgian supplier can therefore still apply the VAT exemption. The Dutch customer, however, must be listed in Box 2 of the declaration (exporter cf. the UCC) and the Belgian supplier in Box 44 (exporter cf. the VAT Directive). In the event the Belgian supplier himself exports the goods to China, this must be stated in both Box 2 and Box 44. In this case, the exporter for customs cf. the UCC and the exporter for VAT purposes are the same person, namely, the Belgian supplier.

Should you require more information about cross-border VAT transactions, please contact one of our specialists via contact@vdl.be.

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Dries Torreele

Certified Tax Advisor dries.torreele@vdl.be

In our opinions, we rely on current legislation, interpretations and legal doctrine. This does not prevent the administration from disputing them or from changing existing interpretations.