Types of Warehouse

Customs warehousing is a procedure by which non-EU goods may be stored in EU territory without being subject to import duties.  Duty becomes payable when the goods are released into free circulation.   A warehouse may also be authorised as a tax warehouse.  If it is not both a customs and tax warehouse, excise duty will become payable when the goods are brought into the warehouse.

A public warehouse is used to store goods on behalf of any trader.  A private warehouse is reserved for the use of an authorised trader who is also the depositor of the goods.

Customs warehouses are places authorised and under the supervision of the Customs authorities where goods may be stored subject to conditions, pending payment of customs and excise duties. Warehouses must be specifically authorised.

CAP goods may be placed in a customs warehouse.  The relevant entry of the goods must be made.  There are procedures in relation to declarations of entry.  Declarations must be physically checked in a certain percentage of cases.

Detailed stock records cards must be kept. The warehouse must be specifically authorised to undertake CAP entries and transfers.

Approval of Tax and Customs Warehouses

Particulars of the premises, architectural drawings, processing systems, control systems and health and safety compliance are required.  In the case of a tenant, evidence of its leasehold rights is required.

Revenue evaluates the paperwork and undertakes a physical examination of the premises.  It conducts a risk assessment.  It must be satisfied in relation to the ability of the warehouse to meet the requisite conditions.

Financial security by way of a bond or an approved guarantee from an approved guarantee society or institution is required, in order to secure customs and excise duty liability in respect of goods at the premises.

There are provisions for the revocation of the authorisation for breach of conditions or failure to comply with notices. Where an authorised warehouse keeper ceases to trade, he must give at least three months prior notice to Revenue.  Arrangements must be made in respect of the removal of all goods and products to another warehouse or for tax due.

There is provision for appeals in respect of the refusal to grant a warehouse keeper licence, refusal to approve a premises as a tax or customs warehouse or revocation of an authorisation or approval.

Authorisation of Customs Warehouse

The application for authorisation as a customs warehouse is similar to that above in respect of a tax warehouse.   The applicant must be established in the EU.  It must demonstrate

  • an economic need for a customs warehouse;
  • that the warehouse is to be used primarily for the storage of goods;
  • that there is a verifiable and accurate stock control and accounting system;
  • the applicant must be capable of fulfilling its obligations;
  • the premises must be suitable in relation to security, access, health and safety and storage issues.

Security is required. It is calculated on the basis of the average rate of duty on imports during the average stock turnover period.  The bond is to secured duties suspended on goods stored in the warehouse.

Excise Warehouse Approval

The Excise Movement and Control System was introduced in 2011 for consignments under excise duty suspension.  A proprietor of a warehouse is a person in possession and control of a tax warehouse, including a tenant, who has been accepted by the proprietor as tenant of the proprietor’s tax warehouse.

Tax warehouse approval may be applicable to a single premises or multiple warehouses at the one location. There may be a site with open storage or bulk storage.

Warehouse approval may be issued in respect of different types of tax warehouse activities.  They range from general storage and distribution, manufacture, facilities, and specialist trades including in particular, alcoholic and excisable goods.

Authorisation of Warehouse keepers

An application is required for approval as an authorised warehouse keeper as well as the authorisation of the warehouse itself.  An applicant for authorisation as a warehouse keeper must satisfy the Revenue that he is conducting a legitimate trade, has adequate financial resources, a bond or guarantee, is VAT registered, has a current appropriate excise licence and a tax clearance certificate.

Authorisations for tax and customs warehouses are issued to named warehouse keepers and are not transferable.  Where it is held by a company, and there is a change of control or where the warehouse is transferred, a new authorisation is required.  The authorisations are not transferable. The terms of the authorisation are annually reviewed.

Goods Stored in Customs Warehouse

The following may be stored in a customs warehouse:

  • non-EU goods liable to customs duty and/or VAT;
  • non-EU goods awaiting necessary supporting documents such as an import licence;
  • non-EU goods in a suspensive arrangement and warehouse for export;
  • non-EU goods for processing under customs control;
  • non-EU goods on which there is no customs duty, but on which VAT is payable;
  • EU goods eligible for a CAP refund on export;
  • goods in free circulation in respect of which a claim for repayment of import duty is dependent on the goods being re-exported.

Meat products and other goods subject to veterinary checks may not be stored unless the import license and health certificate have been presented and veterinary checks have been completed at the frontier.

There is no limit on the length of time for which goods may be stored in a customs warehouse.

Entry and Discharge of the Goods

Details must be entered through the AEP system.  Entry may be made from outside the warehouse or from another warehouse.  The relevant procedures must be maintained for all goods.

Goods may be

  • discharged from the warehouse and released into free circulation;
  • re-exported or transferred to another customs procedure;
  • transferred to a free zone,
  • transferred to another state under a transit procedure.

The requisite SAD return on the AEP system must be used for the release of goods.  They must present the SAD and other appropriate documents required by Revenue, pay duties and charges subject to any deferred payment which may be applied and record details of the charge, including details of the SAD and the number and date in the stock records.

Deferred payment arrangements return may be made not later than the 15th day of the month following the release.  There must be a separate bond to cover and guarantee the duties on the released goods. Specific approval is required for this purpose.

Other Discharge of the Goods

Goods may be discharged other than to free circulation.  It may be to one of the other customs procedures.  Details of the discharge including details of the SAD entry number and date must be recorded in the stock records.

Copies of the transit documents where the goods are transferred to another State under a transit procedure must be retained.

Simplified procedures may be approved in advance for the discharge of arrangements by Revenue.   The SAD must ultimately be completed for each discharge.

Where the goods have been totally destroyed or irretrievably lost because of the nature of the goods or unforeseeable circumstance or force majeure, the trader must report the matter to Revenue.  If the trader plans to destroy goods under official supervision, the Revenue must be informed in advance and given details of the type of goods, amount of duties chargeable, the reason for destruction and the method of destruction.

Stock Records

The trader must maintain stock records in relation to

  • all SADs entering goods into the warehouse;
  • details of all SADs discharging goods out of the warehouse for any other customs procedure;
  • details of transfers in and out, based on commercial documentation;
  • dates and reference particulars of any documents relating to entry and discharge of goods from the customs warehouse,
  • nature of processing operations,
  • type of handling and temporary use;
  • information enabling the goods to be monitored including the location within the warehouse and the particulars of any transfer;
  • commercial and technical descriptions necessary to identify the goods;
  • where goods are about to undergo unusual forms of handling in the warehouse, the customs value of the goods must be noted in the record prior to the handling;
  • details of temporary removal and common storage areas;
  • details of any goods entered into other economic procedures within the warehouse.

The records must give up a complete history of the goods from entry to discharge.  They must be kept at the premises in most cases.

Stock Return

In the case of Type, A, B and C customs warehouses, the trader must submit an annual stock return to Revenue.  Where simplified procedures are operated and in the case of type D and E customs warehouses, stock returns must be made quarterly.

Stock returns are to include particulars of

  • opening stocks by commodity code;
  • details of all entries into the warehouse;
  • details of all discharges including in each case, particulars of the date of entry and discharge, SAD number;
  • details of transfers using commercial documentation;
  • transit numbers if relevant;
  • quantity and description;
  • commodity code;
  • details of all temporary removals;
  • details of goods transferred to other warehouses, whether within or outside the State;
  • closing stock by commodity code description and quantity.

The return is to be certified as true by the trader or his nominated representative.


Where a trader intends to remove goods regularly on a temporary basis from a warehouse, authorisation must be obtained. The trader should maintain a record of all removals in their stock records.  Period of removals may not exceed three months.

Transfers may be made between one custom warehouse and another.  There are four methods of transfer;

  • normal procedure, three SAD copies;
  • simplified procedure, two SAD copies;
  • simplified procedure using commercial documentation;
  • transit procedure.

The principal purpose of the customs warehouse is storage.  Minor handling operations may be permitted while the goods remain under the procedure.  The handling operations must be pre-approved by Revenue. An authorisation must be obtained for the relevant handling.

Local Clearance I (Now EIDR)

Local clearance is the main simplified procedure used in customs warehousing.  The local clearance procedure allows goods to be entered into a customs warehouse procedure at the warehouse, rather than at the point of entry.  It allows goods to be discharged from the procedure at the premises by means of pre-notification to Revenue.

Goods are entered into records of the trader. The following month, a supplementary SAD must be made to cover all goods released for free circulation in that month.

The authorisation for local clearance will attach conditions, including, in particular, the obligations required at the time of the release of goods and details of the supplementary declarations required.

Local Clearance II (Now EIDR)

On the arrival of goods under a local clearance authorisation, the trader must make entries in the stock records of details of the goods being entered in the customs warehousing procedure.  The information entered in the records must be at least sufficiently detailed to identify the goods commercially.

Revenue must be notified giving certain details, including, in particular, the relevant dates, customs warehouse reference, number of items, packages and descriptions, commodity code, mass/weight, procedure code, net mass, additional information and statistical values.

On release for free circulation under local clearance, the trader must notify the discharge of the goods to the appropriate Revenue office, enter details of the transaction into the stock records including the date of discharge and lodge the SAD by the fifth day of the following month

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