Selling Your U.S. Registered Business Jet? Don’t Forget to EXPORT FROM THE UK!

By: Stewart Lapayowker

April 20, 2013

For many years, large U.S. registered aircraft were routinely imported into the UK at a zero rate of VAT  for free circulation in the EU.  It was a relatively simple process and the cost was minimal compared with the exposure to VAT one had for operating within the EU (around 26%).  However, about 2 years ago, under pressure from the EU, the UK discontinued that type of import.  It is not uncommon when closing on a sale of an aircraft that nothing is done about the UK import completed many years earlier.  So, what should be done?  Technically, the prior importation needs to be cancelled, but more accurately, the aircraft needs to be “exported” from the UK upon sale of the aircraft.  Luckily, the UK does not require that the aircraft be in the UK in order to accomplish the export.  So don’t forget to add a UK export to your closing checklist!