In its judgment of 19 July 2017, the FG Hamburg ruled on the interest rate for reimbursed anti-dumping duties. After the European Court of Justice granted an interest claim on reimbursed import duties for the first time at the beginning of the year, the FG Hamburg now also decided in this sense. It borrowed the interest rate of 6% per year from the Tax Code. Companies should have it examined whether they are entitled to interest in addition to the reimbursement of import duties.
Invalid anti-dumping regulation
In the underlying case, a Regulation imposing anti-dumping duties on prepared or preserved citrus fruits from China was annulled by the ECJ. As a result, the main customs office reimbursed the company concerned for the anti-dumping duties paid under this Regulation. However, the company also claimed interest on the refunded anti-dumping duties, which was rejected by the competent main customs office.
Interest claim in addition to reimbursement
The FG Hamburg initially made it clear that an interest claim exists on the merits. It referred to the ECJ ruling (“Wortmann”) of 18.01.2017 in which the ECJ recognised an obligation for Member States to pay interest on the amounts refunded from the date of their payment to legal seekers who are entitled to a refund in breach of EU law on anti-dumping duties imposed.
Interest of 6 % per year
With regard to the amount of interest, the FG Hamburg declared § 238 of the Fiscal Code applicable; this national regulation was applicable to all levies to be reimbursed, irrespective of whether these levies were levied in violation of national law or Union law. Interest of 0.5% per month was thus awarded. The case occurred before the entry into force of the Union Customs Code (UCC), which provides in Art. 116 para. 6 UCC that no interest is payable by the customs authorities in the case of reimbursement, and it remains to be seen whether the case law will still allow an interest claim in cases under validity of the UCC.
Our customs lawyers will check for you if you can file an interest application.