Who decides about customs charges in the EU?
Customs is an authority responsible for administering charges imposed by the government on the imported goods, as well as controlling their flow. Duty charges affect the global economy and every single country involved in international trade. To regulate the made transactions, each customs agency should keep track of all shipments that reach the national ports or cross the borders. If necessary, relevant documentation is presented to the customs and then the duties and taxes to be levied are determined.
The whole process, however, is much easier when shipping in the European Union. No customs charges in the EU should apply - and not only to goods produced in member states, but also to any product which has already been released for free circulation after applicable EU import duty rates were covered. That is why, when shipping inside Europe, any customs charges in the EU are usually included in the price of a door-to-door service. Different rules apply only to goods which are subject to excise duty, such as alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. But, depending on the local legislation, some goods may also be forbidden to leave or enter the specific country.
How is the custom duty calculated?
The aim of customs valuation is to establish the customs value of imported goods. Yet, there are different methods for the calculation of a custom duty. When it comes to a specific duty, the value of the goods does not have to be determined – a fixed amount based on the number of goods is charged instead. On the contrary, an ad valorem duty depends on the value, which means that a more precise calculation of customs duties is necessary to determine applicable import fees.
Since calculating the custom duty for a product can be a complicated process, customs procedures in the European Community have recently been modernised to facilitate international trade. Customs Decisions System (CDS) is said to increase process efficiency, supporting the authorities of every member state in the proper management of submitted applications and issued decisions valid in the whole EU, while protecting their financial interests. At the same time, traders can easily apply for and manage customs decisions regarding their cases, thanks to a single EU interface.
Customs clearance documents
Customs clearance involves preparation and submission of documents required to facilitate transportation, proper assessment of the shipment’s value and payment of duty. As long as the goods are suitable for transit within the EU, they will not be subject to customs clearance or any of the associated charges. When shipping outside of the European Community, however, additional paperwork is required.
Some of the documents for customs clearance include purchase orders from the buyer, invoices, packing lists, shipping bills, air way bills, certificates of origin and any other documentation imposed by the regulations of the specific country. Therefore, it is important to check local legislation in order to determine what documents for customs clearance are needed.
Customs brokers in Europe
As already mentioned, rules and regulations may differ from country to country. Yet, their understanding is important to any sender, whether exporting or importing goods. This is when turning to customs brokers may be worth considering. Researching the necessary paperwork beforehand is always recommended, but allowing the right person to handle the documents for customs clearance can save a lot of trouble, including additional costs and possible delays. Technically, any courier company or freight forwarder should be able to handle the customs process in a timely manner, but it can also be arranged separately with customs brokers.
Apart from choosing an experienced company to manage the customs process, it is also important to properly pack and load the goods. Every sender is responsible for getting the shipment ready for transportation, and doing it right definitely increases the chances of crossing any borders without problems. When hiring customs brokers, it is also important to provide as many details about the shipment as possible. When all provided information is complete and accurate, producing the customs clearance documents should not be a problem.