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What Brexit means for clients retiring abroad

What Brexit means for clients retiring abroad

UK citizens who wish to retire abroad face a range of potential new charges and paperwork as a result of Brexit, according to Gary Heynes, national head of private clients at tax firm RSM.

Mr Heynes said new customs rules could implicate people moving their property from the UK to the EU and vice versa.

He said: “Now the Brexit transition period has ended, goods moving between Great Britain and the EU and vice versa must be declared to customs and are potentially liable to duty and import VAT in the country of arrival.

"While the effects of this major change on international businesses have been well publicised, there are also implications for private citizens, who have until now been accustomed to freely transporting their possessions across the UK/EU border without having to think about customs matters.”

The rules vary depending on the types of goods and there are many exemptions, though accessing those typically requires contacting HMRC in advance.

The rules also apply to those who are moving property from the EU back to the UK, including items that may have been purchased within the EU.

To qualify for Transfer of Residence Relief an individual must have been resident outside of the UK for twelve months, and had ownership of the goods in question for six months. 

Items that do not qualify for this kind of relief would be taxed in the UK, with varying rates depending on the item involved. 

Mr Haynes says: “Similar rules apply to personal property moving in the opposite direction from Great Britain into the EU but it is important to check local import duty and VAT rules and eligibility for transfer of residence relief in the country of arrival.

"While exports of goods direct from the vendor to the EU may qualify for zero-rating, the retail export scheme has been discontinued in Great Britain so it is not possible to reclaim VAT paid on goods bought on the high street.

"Some antiques, works of art or cultural goods may require an export licence before removing them from the UK. Once any advance authorisations have been obtained, it is also important to ensure that the relevant authorisation numbers have been included on the customs declaration when the goods arrive in Great Britain.” 

People moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland could also be facing customs declarations under post-Brexit rules.

This is because any removal company or other third party used to move personal belongings will need to register for the goods vehicle movement system.

Additionally, removal companies or third parties that are moving personal belongings on behalf of homemovers may need to make a safety and security declaration.

The same does not apply to people moving their household themselves, however.

david.thorpe@ft.com