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UPDATE: New rules on pet travel as UK granted ‘listed status’ by EU

The rules for travellers bringing pets from the UK into the EU will change in January but the decision to grant the UK 'listed status' means things won't be as complicated as they might have been. Here's what we know so far about the new rules.

UPDATE: New rules on pet travel as UK granted 'listed status' by EU
Photo: AFP

Travellers from Britain wanting to take their dogs, cats or ferrets with them on a trip to the EU next year had long been warned that Brexit meant things would get a lot more complicated.

With the end of the UK's participation in the EU pet passport scheme animal owners were warned to contact their vets four months before their trip to take the necessary steps for travel, including getting a blood antibody test for the pet.

But with the EU confirming that it is in favour of granting the UK “part 2 listed status” for the purpose of non-commercial pet travel after the end of the transition period, things should be slightly more straightforward, although travelling with animals won't be as easy as it has been.

READ ALSO What Brits in Europe need to know about travel after January 1st

Being granted “part 2 listed status” means pet owners still need to get hold of an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from an accredited vet prior to travel.

Unlike the old system where pets got a passport, now a new certificate will be required for each trip.

Here's what we know so far about the new rules under part 2 listed status.

  • All pet owners from the UK will need an AHC for travel after January 1st 2021.
  • Vets in the UK can start issuing AHC's from December 22nd 2020.
  • To get an AHC pet owners must take proof of their pet’s microchipping date, pet’s vaccination history.
  • Pets will be need to be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel
  • An AHC is valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
  • The certificate is valid for a single trip to the EU
  • It is valid for onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue
  • The AHC is valid for re-entry to GB for 4 months after the date of issue.
  • AHCs are available as dual-language certificates written in both English and the official language of each EU country, so pet owners should ask the vet for the appropriate language certificate depending on where they are visiting.

Travelling from the EU to the UK will be easier because the UK has stated that for the moment it will continue to accept EU Pet Passports issued before January 2021. Your Pet Passport and microchip information will be checked at the border.

An Animal Health Certificate issued within four months will also be valid for re-entry to the UK.

If you have a pet passport issued by an EU member state, you can use it to bring your pet to Great Britain and to return to the EU, as long as your pet has been vaccinated against rabies.

A UK government spokesperson said: “With the EU granting ‘part 2’ listed third-country status for pet travel between Great Britain and the EU, further guidance on pet travel will be published shortly.”

The Local will update these rules when more information is made available by the British government.

*This article has been amended since it was first published to remove mention that pet owners needed “a rabies antibody blood test result (taken at least 21 days after getting the rabies vaccine)”. This is in fact only the case if the UK were an unlisted country.

 

 

Member comments

  1. We have also done this trip, and like the author found it painless. At Holyhead despite being in a French registered car we were waved through. You do not need any treatment to take a dog from Ireland to the UK, just from France to the UK or from the EU to hte UK.

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Why some Brits in France are facing bigger tax bills since Brexit

Over the summer people living in France have received their tax bills, and some Brits who are residents here will have noticed that their bill is larger than usual - here's why.

Why some Brits in France are facing bigger tax bills since Brexit

Brits who live in France and make a tax declaration here, but have income from the UK, may have noticed that their tax bill has increased this year – here’s why and whether you can challenge the increase. 

Brexit

Yes, this is Brexit related and it refers to social charges on non-French income. The standard rate for these charges are 7.5 percent for income from an EU country and 17.2 percent for income from a non-EU country.

The tax bills received over the summer relate to the annual French tax declaration filed in April 2022, covering the 2021 tax year. In other words, the first year after the end of the Brexit transition period.

Social charges

Social charges are levies with a social purpose introduced in France in the 1990s to finance the country’s complex social security system.

If you have a French payslip you will already be familiar with them, and they actually make up the bulk of deductions from salaries, significantly more than income tax.

READ ALSO How to understand your French payslip

One of the big questions is whether France’s social charges are actually a ‘tax’ – the government repeatedly insists they’re not, for all that they look like a tax and are paid like a tax. 

The position on French social charges has changed several times in recent years, sometimes in response to court action all centred on whether this money that government deducts from your income can be called a ‘tax’ or not.

Katey Murray, at The Spectrum IFA Group, explained: “Article 29 of the amended Finance law of 2012 extended social charges to rental income from French properties and capital gains on properties for people who are not French tax resident.

“In 2015, a Dutch national challenged the fact that he was paying social charges in France and social security contributions in the Netherlands. The case went before the ECJ, which ruled these levies were similar to social security contributions and therefore contrary to European law.”

France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, confirmed the ECJ’s ruling. “French tax offices then, if a claim was made to them, reimbursed undue social charges,” Murray said.

“However, the French Government stated that these claims could only be made by someone covered for their healthcare by the system of another European country (EU, EEA or Switzerland) and not someone covered by a non-European health system. 

“This was confirmed by the ECJ for a French national living in China in a case in January 2018.”

Foreigners in France

And it’s this ‘healthcare system’ distinction that has become the key detail for Brits in France, clarified by a court ruling from March 2022 on the details of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. 

Social charges are currently set at 7.5 percent for income from an EU country, or 17.2 percent for income from a non-EU country. So income from the UK jumped to the higher rate at the end of the Brexit transition period.

However the ECJ ruling on healthcare cover is the key bit – essentially if you are already contributing to another European country’s social security system, you benefit from the lower rate.

This mainly affects two groups – Brits living in the UK (and therefore covered by the NHS) who have income in France, and Brits who are living in France and who have an S1, which states that their healthcare costs are covered by the NHS.

S1 holders are mainly British pensioners living in France, but the scheme can also apply to other groups including students and posted workers. 

Brits who are living in France and are covered by the French health system pay the higher rate on income from the UK. 

Technically the 7.5 percent rate is a ‘social levy’ rather than the prélèvements sociaux.

The ‘social levy’ is not charged on pensions, so if you are an S1 holder who receives a British pension, you will not have to pay any social charges at all, while certain types of property income may also be exempt from social charges.

Tax

As we stated above, social charges are not a tax (although they are deducted from your income by the tax office).

Taxes on income from the UK is covered by the bilateral dual-taxation treaty between France and the UK, which states that you don’t have to pay tax in France on income that you have already paid tax on in the UK. 

So the first thing to check on your tax bill is whether deductions relate to impôt (tax) or prélèvements sociaux (social charges).

Challenge your tax bill

So what to do if you think you have been incorrectly charged on income from the UK?

If you are an S1 holder, it’s a case of telling the tax office that you benefit from the lower 7.5 percent social levy, rather than the 17.2 percent social charge.

Murray said: “You can state that you are not subject to social charges by ticking boxes 8SH/8SI on your tax form (2042 form) or, if you have been charged at the higher rate, you can claim them back on your personal page on the impots.gouv.fr website.”

If the over-charge relates to a different issue – for example you have been charged both tax and the social charge or charged on exempt income – your first step is talking to the tax office, either in person or over the phone.

READ ALSO How to challenge your French tax bill

This article is a general overview of the tax rules and is not intended as a substitute for financial advice, if your financial affairs are complicated you are always better off getting professional help from an accountant who specialises in international taxation.

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