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Customs Knowledge. Our company name literally says it all. We have extensive knowledge of customs matters, and we are keen to share that knowledge! We have put together all our knowledge, with clear explanations according to subject area, in the Customs Guide (Douanewijzer). From classification to origin, from declarations to criminal law or the areas of objection and appeal, Brexit, representation and the various customs procedures. Using the information in the Customs Guide, you may already be able to resolve a number of problems or take particular measures. If there are still any questions unanswered, then please feel free to contact one of our experts indicated for the relevant subject area. In this way, we will guide you through the ins and outs of customs.

Themes

Classification

In customs formalities the correct commodity code is very important. Based on this code, the level of customs duties is set or a tariff preference (lower duty) applied. In addition, it is determined which formalities apply. These may be, for example, an import or export authorisation, or even an import ban. Determining the correct commodity code, however, is not always that simple.

Customs value

The customs value is necessary in order to calculate the amount of customs duties. Various components affect the customs value, such as transport costs, licence rights or a discount. It becomes really difficult once there are several transactions in one chain or if there are intercompany transactions. All these components can lead to much debate on the level of the customs value.

Origin

Together with the classification, the origin of a product determines the level of the customs duties. But what determines a product’s country of origin? Is simple processing sufficient? It often isn’t! On the contrary, depending on the country of origin or the product’s destination, specific and complex regulations apply. We will gladly help you through this maze of rules and regulations to determine the correct origin.

Excise & VAT

Excise and VAT are national taxes but are also imposed in international traffic. Various exceptions, formalities and regulations apply here. The reverse charge mechanism, fiscal representation and the zero rate are all areas whereby litigation with regard to VAT is quite commonplace. With respect to excise, these usually concern large amounts, because the rates are high. There are also specific exceptions for duties and VAT for imports. The formal customs rules then do not always apply.

AEO & compliance

These days, AEO and compliance are essential elements. That doesn’t mean, however, that everything is always clear. What exactly does a company have to do, and what measures does it need to take to be ‘in control’? Procedures, internal checks, audits and monitoring are the central themes. An AEO or Compliance Control Framework can help to ensure compliance completely.

Product & food safety

A wide range of extra conditions and formalities apply for the import and export of food and consumer items. Take for example veterinary or phytosanitary inspections, a health certificate or a CE marking. Enforcement in the area of product and food safety is important. The smallest of mistakes can have major consequences, such as the refusal of the goods in the EU, a recall or destruction.

Authorisations & customs planning

Paying the right amount of duties upon import; not too much and not too little. And not paying, if it isn’t necessary. Optimal use of the customs regulations – such as customs transit, inward processing, temporary import or storage in a customs warehouse – is vital here. This does, however, require a good administration and control of the processes.

Additional assessment (UTB)

If a customs debt is incurred, an additional assessment (UTB, Dutch for uitnodiging tot betaling) is imposed. If Customs believe otherwise, for example regarding a classification, then it will impose an additional assessment. Such assessment can come as a complete surprise. And Customs’ viewpoint is not always correct. That is why you have the possibility of starting an objection procedure against Customs and afterwards, if applicable, appeal to the Court. Also take into consideration whether the additional assessment was actually imposed upon the right person or whether the right of defence has been infringed upon, or perhaps whether the recovery period has expired.

Declarations & representation

Everyone can submit a customs declaration themselves, but it is best to leave it to a specialist. After all, when preparing a customs declaration you have to take into account many obligations, special cases and exceptions. That’s why there are organisations specialised in this, who can act as a representative; the customs agent. Often when afterwards it turns out that the declaration was incorrect, there is discussion regarding the responsibilities of the various parties involved. Try to pre-empt this by making clear agreements.

Fines & criminal law

It could happen to anyone; you thought you had submitted the declaration correctly, but it turns out you made some mistakes. Customs and the Public Prosecution have extensive powers of enforcement. This could be an administrative penalty, fiscal penalty or prosecution at a criminal court. What are your rights and obligations here? What can you best do in such situations?

Brexit

Brexit has been on everyone’s mind for a long time now. There is now a transition period running from 31 January to 31 December 2020. During this period, the UK and the EU will be negotiating a trade agreement. This trade agreement will include the import and export of goods. Brexit has major consequences for many companies. Ensure that you are not suddenly faced with unpleasant surprises and take the necessary measures on time. Which exactly? We will be happy to advise you!

E-commerce

Consumers and companies alike order their goods increasingly often via e-commerce. E-commerce is an important theme also for Customs as this leads to totally different processes and risks. Media reports reveal large-scale VAT frauds with respect to this, but customs value and the correctness of the commodity code are re-occurring issues in e-commerce. There are, however, plenty of parties that do want to submit their declarations correctly, particularly within e-commerce.

Export control

The export of military goods and dual-use goods is subject to strict conditions. Also in view of various political and trade tensions there is an increasing focus on export-control measures and penalties. Violations of these regulations have far-reaching consequences. Not only criminal penalties, but the Public Prosecution Service increasingly often opts for naming & shaming.