Customs Warehouse

As soon as goods passed the border of the European Union, duty has to be paid on them in general. This often means considerable bureaucratic efforts and expenses for all the participants. The customs warehousing procedure, on the contrary, makes it possible to bring the goods in the EU and under these circumstances the goods are not considered as imported under the legal customs regulations. Because there are a lot of pitfalls, however, the assistance of lawyers, specialized in this subject, often is indispensable.

The advantages of the customs warehouse procedure

You can place goods under the customs warehousing procedure for an unlimited period of time and take advantage of the following:

  • The application of the duty, including V.A.T. and excise duties, is suspended until the goods are placed into free circulation (credit function)
  • Should it be intended to export the goods again, without placing them into free circulation, no import duties are to be paid (transit function)
  • Commercial policy measures as e.g. the obligation to apply for import authorizations or license regulations are suspended for a certain period of time (interim storage facility)

Types of customs warehouses. Type A, B, C, D, E, or F

Before the goods are placed under the customs warehousing procedure, the customs authorities first have to give their authorization for a specific customs warehouse. There are six different types of customs warehouses with different conditions and responsibilities. First, we have to distinguish between customs warehouses, in which only the warehouse keeper can store the goods (private customs warehouse) and customs warehouses, in which not only the warehouse keeper, but also other storers are allowed to store goods (public customs warehouse). Warehouses of type C, D and E are private customs warehouses. Warehouses of type A, B and also type F which is operated by the authorities themselves, are public warehouses.

Irrespective of the type of warehouse it is not necessary that the warehouse keeper or the storing party is the owner of the goods. Therefore  the advantages of a customs warehouse can also be offered as service.

The risks of customs warehouses: Special susceptibility to error

Even for professionals in customs questions customs law is very complex. Especially with the very strict formalized customs warehouse procedure quite a lot of rules have to be observed very strictly. To err is human and mistakes and errors in this connection quite often occur. Then the assistance of a lawyer specialising in German customs law is indispensable.

What can happen is that someone who is offending against legal customs regulations, suddenly has to pay customs duties and the authorities will not hesitate to send their tax notice. Further, administrative fines or even criminal proceedings due to evasion of duties can be the consequence.

Storage of the goods and normal handling in the customs warehouse

In the customs warehouse goods can only be stored. Under certain circumstances, however, a so-called customary treatment is possible. What is meant by this is: cooling, ventilating, packing or washing etc.

Precise stock records of the stored goods are necessary. This obligation has to be complied with carefully, as customs supervision is only possible with these records. Infringements of this obligation mean that the goods are no longer under customs supervision and the company/persons involved are liable for the payment of the customs debt.

We should be pleased to be of assistance with our lawyers of Hamburg if you have any questions about customs warehouse rules and regulations, questions on how to set up a customs warehouse, on the responsibilities arising or on setting aside a tax notice. Please simply contact us.