ALERT: Post-Brexit, is your aircraft importation valid within the EU27 or the UK?

January 2020

  • How to “grandfather” or port an aircraft importation into the opposite zone
  • What are the preconditions?
This article relates only to a full importation into the EU. It does not apply to the use of the Temporary Admission regulation.

It is now 100% clear that an EU27 importation post-Brexit will only be valid within the EU27 and a UK importation within the UK. No full importation will automatically be “grandfathered” into the opposite zone.

Please also have a look at our Flying to the UK 2021.

However, the Returned Goods Relief (RGR) rules might be a way to obtain “grandfathering” and port an aircraft importation into the opposite zone. Below, we describe how the RGR rules will work in an aviation context. The end-result of such a re-importation process will generate a new import document for the opposite zone without payment of the customs duty and the Value Added Tax (VAT).

Important: action is required in 2021
The holders of the import document must initiate the RGR process themselves and finalize the process before the end of 2021 as 2021 is the time limit set in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

What are the preconditions?
There are 5 points that must be fulfilled.

1. A valid importation document. The valid full readable importation form should be presented together with documentation for the VAT reporting related to the importation.

2. The re-importer must be the same as the exporter. This means that the re-importer must continuously have owned/leased/operated the aircraft since the importation and the aircraft must be re-imported by this same entity that flew (temporarily exported) the aircraft from EU the EU the last time.

3. The 3-year rule. The aircraft will only qualify if it has not since the importation left the EU customs territory for a continuous period exceeding three (3) years. This can in most cases be proven by a logbook and other relevant documents.

4. The aircraft must be in the same condition. The aircraft must be in the same state as originally imported. However, any treatment or handling outside the EU customs territory to keep its appearance or necessary to repair it, restore it to good condition or maintain it in good condition are not an issue. Any MRO inside the EU customs territory will not affect the RGR process.

Changes or updates are only a problem related to RGR if performed by a workshop outside the EU without using the Outward processing procedure.

5. Physical present of the aircraft. The aircraft must be present for the physical re-importation after all the documentation have been approved.

The verification and approval process must be expected to take 3-6 weeks.

Please, ask us to verify your case’s eligibility to use RGR.

What to do if the preconditions cannot be met?
Most aircraft operators will probably be able to use Temporary Admission without any problems whatsoever, so please don’t worry (ask us for further guidance).

How can OPMAS help
We offer an analysis of the owner/user/operator scenario to secure compliance with the RGR rules and of course take 100% care of the full process here in Denmark.

We will, of course, continuously keep you updated on any development. If you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Selected links covering this issue
VAT Committee (EU) – Guidelines on VAT related issues in view of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union without an agreement

HMRC (UK) Guidance, Pay less import duty and VAT when re-importing goods to the UK

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