Customs and excise-related formalities are primarily designed to enable customs authorities to protect the financial interests of the European Union and its member states. This involves ensuring the proper collection and control of import duties, excise duties, and VAT, as well as monitoring compliance with numerous restriction and prohibition measures.
Both goods entering and leaving the customs territory of the European Union are generally subject to customs supervision and may be selected for customs controls.
Traditionally, customs has had a fiscal role. It is no coincidence that in Belgium, as in many other countries, the customs administration is part of the Ministry of Finance.
Customs is responsible for the collection and control of customs duties (including anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties, safeguard duties, and additional duties), excise duties, and VAT.
However, goods subject to declaration requirements are also, where applicable, subject to prohibitions or restrictions justified on grounds including:
This includes controls on drug precursors, goods infringing certain intellectual property rights, and cash, as well as the implementation of measures for the conservation and management of fish stocks and trade policy measures.
The legislative packages of both the European Union and its member states contain numerous provisions, within the context of various policy areas, where customs authorities have control powers. Without aiming to create an exhaustive list, here are some examples from this extensive package:
Naturally, it is the responsibility of market participants to comply with the aforementioned regulations. However, it should not be overlooked that, in many cases, an additional declaration obligation applies to customs.
Therefore, it is important to know when, at what time, and especially which data you need to provide, hand over, or simply make available for inspection to the customs authorities.
It goes without saying that a customs service provider, as an intermediary between market participants and the authorities, has an important role to play in this regard.