Moving forward with our analysis on dispatching goods within the European Union, let us take a closer look at customs declarations, when they are required and when they are not, at excise duties and also at a few basics on licencing.
Customs declarations and licencing
First of all, it should be noted that no customs declarations are required for sales of goods within the EU, except for sales to “special territories” or international organisations. Based on the principle of free circulation adopted by the EU, there is no need to pay duties for goods manufactured in the EU as long as they do not leave its territory. This principle can also be applied to imports from outside the EU as soon as all formalities and charges have been taken care of, allowing for them to be sold on the Community market in the same conditions as all other products manufactured here.
Some goods may require an export licence and other specific documentation and may be subject to controls. Drugs and weapons are two examples of such goods.
Excise duty and duty drawback across the EU territory
So what are excise goods and what are the requirements as far as they are concerned? Excise is a special tax charged by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on a well-defined range of products, namely on hydrocarbon oils (petrol and fuel included), alcoholic drinks, tobacco and cigarettes made, imported or acquired within the UK. However, a suspension on the payment of duty over a length of time can be obtained under a relief plan or scheme if there is an approved excise warehouse involved or in the case of Registered Consignees and Temporary Registered Consignees.
Suspension on the payment of duty for goods transiting within the member states of the EU can also be obtained under a relief scheme. However, only business owners can benefit from such a scheme and only if they provide evidence that they have paid the duty. They may also be required to provide audit material linking the goods and the duty payment. Additional paperwork is required if the payment of duty was made by someone else. Cargos must be accompanied by properly filled out paperwork (the excise movement certificate). Also, financial security must be provided, guaranteeing that money will be paid to HMRC should any irregularities covered by the bond or warranty occur. An electronic Administrative Accompanying Document (e-AAD) for duty-paid goods circulating within the EU and UK issued using HMRC’s Excise Movement and Control System must be provided as well.
A duty stamp must be visible on bottles containing a minimum of 35 cl of spirits or wine and a minimum of 30% alcohol upon passing the excise duty point in order to be released for sale. This constitutes evidence of payment whether completed or not. Duty stamps can be obtained after registering with HMRC.
Finally, the use of the two-letter codes corresponding to the country of origin and that of destination is very important, marking the changes to be made within commercial invoices.