VAT exemption/import duty relief on imports of COVID-19 products – a clarification

06-04-2020

 

On 3 April, the EU decided that goods used for combatting COVID-19 should be granted relief from customs duties and be free of VAT. 

However, it is important to note that these advantages apply only to State organisations. This includes State bodies, public bodies and other bodies governed by public law or by or on behalf of organisations approved by the competent authorities in the Member States, and for the following uses:

  • Distribution free of charge to the persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19 or involved in combating the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Being made available free of charge to the persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19 or involved in combating the COVID-19 outbreak while remaining the property of the bodies and organisations referred to above

The advantages also apply to disaster relief agencies in order to meet their needs during the period they provide disaster relief to the persons affected by or at risk from COVID-19 or involved in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak.

The measures apply retroactively from 30 January 2020 until 31 July 2020 and will be reviewed for possible extension.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the transition period therein, the decision also applies to the UK and Northern Ireland.

Stuart Newman, Senior Legal Advisor – Trade & Customs