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Customs Knowledge. Our company name pinpoints what we are about. 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 have access to tools to resolve pending issues or take pro-actively measures. If you have questions and would like to get acquainted, we welcome you to contact one of our professionals to guide you through the ins and outs of customs.

Themes

Declarations & representation

Declarations require expertise. Although anyone can technically submit a customs declaration, only a specialist has the expertise to take into account the variety of obligations, authorisations or product specifics and exceptions of customs law. For this reason there are organisations specialised in customs formalities, who can act as a representative, the customs broker. The customs broker translates the relevant data into the customs declaration, with or without representation. We recommend making clear agreements with all parties in the supply chain to ensure the declaration is made true and correct by the right party. We often see that when it turns out that the declaration was incorrect, a discussion starts, regarding the responsibilities of the various parties involved. Try to pre-empt this by hiring a customs broker and making clear agreements between parties and with the broker.

Excise & VAT

Taxes impact international trade. Some taxes only apply when goods cross the EU border, e.g. import duty. Other taxes such as consumption taxes apply both for goods crossing intra-EU borders and the EU border. Customs authorities play an important role in the levy of these taxes. For businesses involved in international trade taxes can lead to unfair competition due to higher administrative burdens or higher costs e.g. for raw materials. For this reason, the customs legislation includes multiple relief schemes. Examples are duty exemptions, simplifications or suspension regimes. This helps a lot because the tax levy becomes more efficient and cashflow positions can be improved. Do you wish to learn more about the deferral of import VAT (by means of the authorisation article 23) or other relief schemes? Read more information under ‘VAT’ or ‘Excise’ and/or contact one of our experts.

AEO & compliance

Nowadays, AEO and compliance are indispensable in international trade. However, this does not mean that the maintenance of the AEO authorisation and/or retaining a high compliance level is straightforward. Procedures, internal controls, audits and monitoring are key themes in this respect. Furthermore, an AEO- or Compliance Control Framework can help to ensure compliance completely.

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?

CBAM

Combating climate change is the order of the day currently. Whether it is installing solar panels or reducing your own carbon footprint. One of the EU’s goals is to be climate neutral in 2050. This means that a number of steps have to be taken to realize this goal. One of those steps is to limit carbon emissions. Steps already have been taken regarding production in the EU.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Additional assessment (UTB)

If a customs debt arises, the debt will be levied by the Dutch Customs authorities with an additional assessment (hereinafter: UTB). If the customs authorities are of the opinion that a correction must be made based on the submitted declaration, for example regarding the classification of a product, Customs will impose a UTB for the difference. Such a UTB may come as a surprise for companies. In such cases, it is important to apply a critical view on the received UTB. After all, the viewpoints of the Dutch Customs authorities are not always correct. In a situation that Customs is or could be incorrect, companies are offered the opportunity to conduct an objection procedure and, if necessary, an appeal procedure with the court against the UTB.

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.