Declaration to Customs Treatment I

The importer must declare the goods to customs. This may be done by the importer or more commonly by a logistics provider, freight forwarded or customs agent on his behalf.  The obligation is separate to the obligation to make an entry summary declaration (ENS), which rests primarily with the carrier, but which can be delegated to others including and agent, freight forwarder or the trader.

The ENS data overlaps with the customs declaration and in some cases one may substitute for the other. Technically, different IT systems are involved. Unlike the position with the exit summary declaration and the export customs declaration, Irish Revenue require a seperate ENS and import customs declaration.

There may be multiple customs declarations in respect of the same goods. In default of the a customs declaration, the ENS acts as a customs declaration of the goods to temporary storage. One or more further declarations, with the relevant additional data may declare the goods to a further customs process such as warehousing or ultimately free circulation.

Declaration to Customs Treatment II

After the presentation of goods, the importer making the declaration must within a reasonable time declare which of the authorised customs approved treatment it wishes to assign the goods to, if this has not been done in advance.  “Presentation” can be physical or may simply mean notification to Revenue, where the goods have been declared to free circulation in advance  (or other appropriate process) and Revenue gives green routing, shortly before the goods arrive.

When goods are released for free circulation, they become liable to the relevant duties. The customs debt is thereby incurred at the time of acceptance of the customs declaration in question. The declarant is a debtor. The declarant on the ground is often the representative/agent of the entity person under whose control the importation is taking place. The former is an agent n this case, and the importer is liable as principal.

Where goods are covered by a summary declaration formalities for them to be assigned to a customs-approved treatment must take place within 45 days from the date of the summary declaration is the case of goods carried by sea or 20 days in other cases. Where circumstances so warrant the customs authority may set a shorter period or authorise an extension.

There may be restrictions on the goods in the jurisdiction in some narrow categories cases. See the sections on licencing and regulation of imports and exports. In these cases, the relevant licence must be held and produced or proved.

States have the powers to apply licences and restriction on movement on grounds of public morality e policy public security protection of health and life of humans animals and plants, the protection of national treasures possessing artistic historical or archaeological value or the protection of industrial and commercial property.

Temporary Storage

Where goods are not assigned a customs-approved treatment or use, when presented to customs, they are deemed to be in temporary storage and subject to that procedure. Any removal from authorised storage is subject to customs supervision.

Temporary storage permits buyers to check whether goods conform to the contract. It is more relevant in longer distance deep sea container movements, as opposed to roll-on roll-off movements.

Goods may be assigned to another customs approved treatment use at any time. This is ultimately free circulation in nearly all cases. Goods in temporary storage declared for a customs-approved treatment are not released from the former regime until the relevant conditions of the latter new customs procedure have been complied with. This includes acceptance of the relevant declaration by customs. If there are duties arising, they must be paid or secured by the appropriate guarantee.

Goods in temporary storage may be stored only in a place approved by customs authority under the conditions laid down by those authorities. The customs authorities may require the person holding the goods to provide security for the customs debt.

The storage may allow time for the importer to decide what he does with the goods. It may declare them into free circulation on  payment of duty or alternatively declare them to another customer treatment procedure

There are provisions whereby goods under temporary storage may undergo certain procedure subject to conditions. This may include cleaning beating sorting repair and repacking in some cases.

Default and Consequences

Where goods are not dealt with within the above-mentioned time periods (45 or 20 days), the customs authorities may take the necessary steps including the sale of the goods to regularise their status. They may at the expense of the person controlling the goods be transferred to another place under customs control until the position is regularised.

Overdue goods may in principle be subject to seizure and forfeiture under customs legislation. Where the requisite obligations under customs legislation have not been completed the goods may be forfeited. If the goods are perishable, they may be destroyed immediately. In some cases, it may be necessary for the customs authority to take proceedings to condemn and forfeit of the goods. Due process requirements may arise

Where circumstances so require custom authority may require the goods to be destroyed. The cost of destruction may be charged on the owner.

Seizure Detention and Forfeiture

Generally, customs authorities have the same powers to deal with goods where, unlawfully, they have not been subject to customs control such as where they have been withheld from customs. Undeclared goods which have not been subject to customs controls may be seized and are subject to forfeiture.

Goods may be seized and used for prosecution of customs offences. It may cause the owner to be in breach of contract.

Some EU states provide for detention of the goods, where there is a case for seizure pending further investigation. The ownership remains with the owner, but the goods remain under customs control.

Share this article