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Brexit and EU VAT status

I am operating a G-reg aircraft from a base in continental Europe. Does anyone know whether I should expect possible issues with its EU VAT status after Brexit? Will I need to get a certificate of free circulation in advance of the cut-off date?

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

Ultranomad wrote:

I am operating a G-reg aircraft from a base in continental Europe. Does anyone know whether I should expect possible issues with its EU VAT status after Brexit? Will I need to get a certificate of free circulation in advance of the cut-off date?

You can’t get a certificate like that any more. Honestly, no-one knows what is going to happen.

I would think if EU VAT has been paid, Brexit won’t affect it but there are no certainties in this space right now.

EGTK Oxford

One possibly relevant thread is here.

I don’t know of any way to get a certificate of free circulation (for a G-reg especially) short of declaring the VAT on the current market value, and paying that VAT. A big waste of money obviously. The old system where you could get the certificate just by submitting various documents to HMRC finished c. 2005. I got one of the last few.

But equally I don’t see how brexit would mess up the VAT-paid status, because few laws are retrospective and the plane was (presumably) EU VAT paid at the time of brexit.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

No aircraft acquired during the period in which the UK was a EU member should be liable for EU VAT. Only transactions after the UK leaves the EU will. The state of registry is irrelevant.

Last Edited by Aviathor at 13 Jul 20:32

I wonder whether anyone has sought legal advice regarding any of the following questions:

With a no-deal Brexit potentially looming, does anyone know what the effect would be on UK-based aircraft that are currently deemed free for circulation within the EU (or so called “Union goods”)? Will these cease to be deemed free for circulation within the EU and therefore a sale into the EU would be deemed an import subject to import VAT?

Would that be mitigated by moving the aircraft into the EU-27 prior to 29 March? (Hopefully yes but does it depend on where the owner resides?) If yes, at what point does flying out of the EU-27 to the UK (or anywhere else) and a subsequent return to the EU-27 constitute a potential export and import (which presumably means that the aircraft loses its status as a “Union good” upon export)?

What I am trying to get to is whether it would be sensible to fly the aircraft into the EU-27 before Brexit date and leave the aircraft there over Brexit date and whether it would then retain its status as a “Union good” even if flown back to the UK after Brexit date.

Last Edited by wbardorf at 13 Feb 23:35
EGTF, EGLK, United Kingdom

There are plenty of aircraft based in say Switzerland that were imported into the EU via an EU country but are no longer based there so that they are EU VAT paid. But they were never exported and spend enough time in the EU to remain OK. UK aircraft were similarly imported so EU VAT has been paid even if the UK is no longer part. But I would want documentary proof of it. Also, if they spend enough time outside the EU they will lose the EU vat paid status.

Last Edited by JasonC at 14 Feb 00:15
EGTK Oxford

There is no such thing as a no deal brexit. It is a misunderstanding of the tactical position, as well as being a handy media label.

There is a prior deal brexit, and there is a no prior deal brexit.

In the latter case, many things will get sorted by negotiation, along lines of mutual interest. For example we already know Spain won’t send back the 100 million Brits living there They broke ranks with Brussels to do that one.

So nothing much will happen on 29th March specifically.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

@ Peter, you couldn’t be more wrong. All that is on the table at the moment is a withdrawal agreement. That commits both parties to another 2 years of kicking the can down the road about the future relationship and agreed it is unlikely that anything will change on March 30th. However, without a deal the UK will become a third party and be treated like any other country which does not have an agreement with the EU from March 30th.
As for your 100 million Brits living in Spain, Portugal or France for that matter, no- one of any consequence has ever hinted that they would be thrown out and Spain so there was never a need for Spain to go against Brussels. The problem for the Brits, many of whom are pensioners is the question of who will cover the cost of their health treatment. In the event of a no deal/agreement, on the 30th March Brits who have not paid into the country’s health system will have to pay for their own health care or get private insurance cover. This is causing many Brits to sell up and move back to the UK. Take a trip to Dordogneshire and see how many Brit owned properties are up for sale.


The point I am making, Gallois, that the present Brussels position (“the UK will be nuked on 29th March”) is not going to be reality on 30th March, because everybody has to carry on living, flying, trading, selling, buying, etc.

In terms of negotiating tactics, what Brussels is doing is the correct procedure. You play maximum hardball – until the last moment. It has one obvious problem: if it fails to deliver the desired result (a collapse in the other party to the negotiation) then “you” end up with egg on your face.

Obviously I would say this – because I live in the UK and I believe in the UK. And I am convinced that those who think the UK will melt down on 30th March are wrong. The UK is not – for example – Greece, which (a) could be shafted into submission because via economic mismanagement they got themselves into a situation where they had their backs to the wall and (b) it was too small a country to have economic significance, no earth-shattering international trade factors, etc. Greece could be thrown to the lions… and would have been.

So I would not worry about being grounded in 30th March. Some licensing deal will be done. There is too much at stake for everyone to not do one. There are all the UK licensed airline pilots, for example. All the UK made aerospace parts, used in airliners all over the EU.

Sure many Brits are selling up. But this has been an ongoing process, with recent acceleration, as the “French converted barn” dream has run its 20-30 year term and has worn thin for many. Most of them found it pretty difficult to integrate into the local community, in the scenic but small provincial towns, where a box of wine bottles to the mayor is the starting point for “local community integration” It’s nothing specific to France or Spain; it’s been the same here in the UK, with many well-off Britons having bought holiday homes in the Lake District, bits of Wales, etc, only to find that the locals basically hate them (and there was no language or culture issue there). One friend of mine did that particular “emigration” and after some years his wife and kids got sick of it and they came back to where “more stuff happens”, leaving him up there.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Business will go on and people will carry on. With the eurozone industrial output down 4% year on year I think there is going be a decent amount of pressure from business within the eu to keep trading.

I wouldn’t worry too much about any EU VAT implications if you already purchased it at a time where vat had been paid within the EU then there should be no issue.

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