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.

The customs debt is the amount of customs duty payable. The amount payable is composed of the import duty on a product and possibly anti-dumping and/or countervailing duties. National taxes, such as value added tax (VAT), excise duty, consumption tax and coal tax are not included in the term of customs debt, but these taxes are levied as if they were an import duty.

Thousands of import declarations are submitted daily by several different forwarders and shipping agents. During the verification of those declarations Customs could conclude that a correction of the data is required. As a consequence of these corrections, the customs debt could increase leading to paying more customs duties than originally declared. However, we note that in practice such corrections could be only the tip of the iceberg. Whereas Customs starts a check by usage of retrospective systematic checking of declarations, i.e. the post-clearance audit, the next step is a full audit. In both cases applies that if Customs is of the opinion that too little customs duties were levied at an earlier point in time, it may proceed to a UTB for the difference between the original amount of customs debt levied and the corrected amount of customs debt.

I received an UTB

Help! I have received an additional assessment and must pay within ten days, what is my next step?

First determine if you have received an additional assessment or pre-notification. Normally an additional assessment can only be sent after a pre-notification in which the inspector explains his intention to send an additional assessment and on which grounds. If you receive a pre-notification for a UTB, you generally have 30 days to respond to this pre-notification. After that, the additional assessment itself will follow.

What are your options when you receive a pre-notification or an additional assessment?

Practical help

1. Determine whether the pre-notification is justified

One cannot assume that Customs is correct. Many different reasons for an error can be named. For example, Customs may have determined the commodity code incorrectly or designate the wrong company as the debtor. We strongly recommend to contact an expert if you need help or have doubts about whether the inspector of the Customs authorities is right in his intentions. Our experts will be happy to advise you.

2. Determine whether the amount has been determined correctly

If, after reviewing the pre-notification, you believe that the inspector has made an error in the calculation, please contact him to have it corrected.

3. Determine whether you want to object to the UTB

You have sent a response to the prenotification, but still receive the additional assessment from the inspector. If so, you can lodge an objection against the additional assessment. Are you looking for assistance? Our experts can help you.

4. Apply for a deferral of payment

If you agree with the additional assessment, you can proceed with the payment. If you cannot pay the full amount at once, you can get in touch with the Customs authorities and request a deferral of payment. However, there are certain conditions attached to receive a deferral of payment.

5. Get support for your appeal procedure

If the objection is rejected, the next step may be to appeal to the court. We strongly recommend getting support in this regard, because (fortunately) for most people litigation is not an everyday occurrence.