The UK has launched formal exit negotiations by formally notifying the European Council of its intention to leave the EU. The Northern Ireland Protocol, known as the “Irish backstop”, was an annex to the November 2018 draft agreement that outlined provisions to prevent a hard border in Ireland following the United Kingdom`s withdrawal from the European Union. The Protocol contains a provision on a safety net to deal with circumstances in which other satisfactory arrangements have yet to enter into force at the end of the transition period. This project has been replaced by a new protocol which will be described below. The EU VAT Directive continues to apply to goods delivered from the UK to an EU Member State and vice versa if the shipment or transport started before the end of the transition period and ended thereafter. The rights and obligations under the EU VAT Directive apply up to five years after the end of the transitional period for all transactions that started before the end of the transitional period. Claims for refunds of VAT paid in a Member State by a UK taxable person (or by an EU person in the UK) must be submitted by 31 March 2021. Amendments to VAT returns for cross-border transactions must be submitted as close as possible to 31 December 2021. The Council Regulation on administrative cooperation and the fight against VAT fraud will continue to apply to the tax authorities of the Member States and the United Kingdom for four years for transactions carried out before the end of the transitional period. Subject to these transitional rules, the UK will almost certainly maintain a VAT system, possibly in the form of a sales or goods and services tax. The proposed regime for Northern Ireland means that, while Northern Ireland will be part of the VAT and customs territory of the United Kingdom, EU VAT rules on goods will continue to apply in Northern Ireland (and not those in force in the rest of the United Kingdom), so that Northern Ireland remains an integral part of the single market and no hard border with the Republic is required.
As such, the UK will apply EU VAT directives to goods in Northern Ireland, collect VAT and transfer it to the EU. Services are subject to the UK VAT system (as it differs from the EU). The Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period until the 31st. December 2020, in which the UK will remain in the single market to ensure smooth trade until a long-term relationship is agreed. If no agreement is reached by that date, the UK will leave the single market on 1 January 2021 without a trade agreement. A non-binding political declaration on the future relationship between the EU and the UK is closely linked to the Withdrawal Agreement. Immediately after the announcement of a revised withdrawal agreement on 17 October 2019, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the DUP declared that they could not support the new agreement.  The Declaration on the Future Relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, also known as the Political Declaration, is a non-binding declaration negotiated and signed at the same time as the binding and broader Withdrawal Agreement in the context of the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU), colloquially known as Brexit, and the planned end of the transition period. Intellectual property rights remain exhausted for all goods placed on the market anywhere in the EEA before the end of the transitional period. .