This web resource is intended to provide Members with an introduction to the rules that relate to the topic of aircraft importation into the EU. Readers are cautioned that this publication is not intended to provide more than an illustrative introduction to the subject matter, and since the materials are necessarily general in nature, they are no substitute for the advice of legal and tax advisors addressing a specific set of facts that readers may face.

What is the Issue?

Aircraft that are not registered in the European Union (EU) but are operated within the EU are subject to importation requirements including value added tax (VAT) and customs duties. Since the EU is made up of 28 member states, but considered to be one customs territory, many operators conduct flights between/within multiple states and are thus subject to these rules. However, understanding the customs requirements is complex as each EU state can individually interpret provisions of the EU Community Customs Code.

With VAT rates of at least 20% in most EU states, operators must understand the importation process as failure to do so could result in VAT being applied to the value of the aircraft. Operators of non-EU registered business aircraft generally account for VAT through either temporary admission or a full importation process.