Court Rules on Exports from Customs Warehouse

10 September 2012

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently ruled on whether a customs debt is incurred when there is a delay in entering in the stock records of information concerning the removal of goods from a customs warehouse.

The court ruled:

Article 204(1)(a) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 648/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 April 2005, must be interpreted as meaning that, in the case of non-Community goods, non fulfilment of the obligation to enter the removal of the goods from the customs warehouse in the appropriate stock records, at the latest when the goods leave the customs warehouse, gives rise to a customs debt in respect of those goods, even if they have been re exported.

This decision is of critical importance to businesses exporting goods from the customs warehouse to outside of the EU. These movements, if managed correctly, would not give rise to a customs duty demand. The business case for customs warehousing is increasingly based gaining duty relief on these movements.

HMRC policy on the time allowed by businesses to operate duty reliefs such as Inward Processing Relief (IPR) and Processing under Customs Control (PCC) are pushing more businesses in to employing customs warehousing. This ruling could frustrate such planning.

We strongly recommend businesses review their customs warehousing operations to ensure stock records are updated before goods leave the customs warehousing regime. If you would like any assistance in reviewing your operations against the specific terms or your authorisation or the general regulations then please contact us.

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