News from the European Commission and the Council - July 2016

Minimum VAT rate of 15% extended by the EU until December 2017

The European Union has decided that it will retain the minimum standard rate of VAT at 15% until at least the 31 December 2017.

This minimum VAT rate means that no EU Member state can reduce their standard rate of VAT to less than 15%. This is intended to prevent large differences between the standard rates of VAT in all EU Member states, although Hungary still has the highest rate at 27%.

New Union Customs Code in the European Union

The Union Customs Code (UCC) is a new legal framework for all customs related EU legislation. It replaces the previous Community Customs Code (CCC) and it entered into force last 1 May 2016. The UCC will be gradually implemented until 31 December 2020

Among the most relevant changes, businesses should carefully review the definition of exporter for customs purposes. This will no longer be the person claiming the export where Ex-Works delivery has been agreed. In addition, only the name of the exporter for customs purposes must be kept in box 2 of the Export declaration. The name of the exporter for VAT purposes will be included in a separate box!

Regarding Authorized Economic Operators, there will be two types of authorization (instead of three). Also, certain customs simplifications will require the AEA-C type of authorization.

Also businesses currently importing goods for which trademark royalties are paid will be heavily impacted by the changes in the new UCC, as the royalties and licenses are much sooner included in the customs value than under the previous legislation.

Other major changes include developments on the customs valuations, especial customs procedures (e.g. warehousing, processing, etc.) and Binding Tariff Information (BTI).


The above information was kindly provided by:
Fiscal Solutions (UK),;
Marosa (UK),;

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Disclaimer:  The information contained in the present page is general and does not constitute legal advice. Before taking any decision or action on the above information you should take the appropriate professional advice.