B Law & Tax
25 May 2023

Tax advisor: New European Union customs reform

The Commission has presented proposals for the most comprehensive reform of the EU Customs Union since its establishment in 1968. The proposals put forward aim to establish a world-leading vision for the use of data in EU customs, which will significantly simplify customs processes for businesses, especially trusted traders. Through digital transformation, this reform will reduce complicated customs procedures, replacing traditional declarations with a smarter, data-driven approach to import supervision. At the same time, customs authorities will have the resources and tools to properly assess and stop imports that pose real risks to the EU, its citizens and its economy.

In the new reformed EU Customs Union, companies wishing to import goods into the EU will be able to register all information related to their products and supply chains in a single online environment called the EU Customs Data Center. This platform will use advanced technology, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and human intervention, to collect and analyze the data provided by companies. This will enable customs authorities to have a complete view of supply chains and the movement of goods.

In addition, companies will only need to interact with a single portal to submit their customs information and will only have to provide data once, even for multiple shipments. In some cases where business processes and supply chains are transparent, the most trusted operators, known as “Trust and Check” operators, will be able to market their goods in the EU without active customs intervention. This “Trust and Check” category strengthens the existing Authorized Economic Operator program for trusted traders.

In order to improve the coordination and prioritization of customs controls and inspections in the Member States, especially during crisis situations, the EU Customs Authority will be established. This authority will use the information and expertise gathered through the EU Customs Data Center to assess risks at european level. This new approach will enable greater cooperation between customs authorities, market surveillance agencies and law enforcement at both national and EU level. The exchange of information will be facilitated through the Customs Data Center, which will contribute to better cooperation and efficiency in risk detection and prevention.

The current reform will change the approach of the current customs system in relation to goods sold online in the EU. Instead of placing responsibility on individual consumers and carriers, online platforms will be seen as key players in ensuring compliance with customs obligations. These platforms will be responsible for ensuring payment of customs duties and VAT at the time of purchase, thus preventing consumers from facing hidden charges or surprise red tape upon receipt of their packages. By becoming official importers, online platforms will ensure that all duties have been paid and offer EU consumers the peace of mind that they are shopping safely and in compliance with EU environmental, ethical and safety standards.

B Law & Tax International Tax & Legal Advisors.


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