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In its judgment of 12.05.2015, 4 K 61/14, the FG Hamburg confirmed the procedure of the customs authority, which had an expert opinion on the value of the goods prepared after doubting the purchase price. The plaintiff imported women’s and men’s tights from China and reported a Customs valuation which was many times lower than the average price calculated on the basis of the Atlas import data.

Zoll had doubts about the customs value

In principle, the customs value of goods is determined by their transaction value, i.e. their purchase price. If the customs administration is not satisfied that the declared customs value is the actual transaction value due to doubts, it may first request additional information. It may require information on the authenticity of the documents presented, the provision of additional information and the submission of other documents necessary for determining the customs value of the goods. If the doubts persist, the customs authorities should explain the reasons for their doubts to the data subject and give them the opportunity to comment.

The applicant argued that the low transaction price was due to the fact that the original seller had had to sell the goods at a knockdown price because his original buyer had jumped off and the return of the goods would have been far too expensive. In this context, it submitted further documents in which the signatures were stamped.

The customs authorities continued to express doubts about the documents submitted. The reference to an emergency transaction was a standard argument that had been put forward in many similar cases. The authority therefore commissioned a customs valuation and collected the import duties in accordance with this valuation.

Tax court confirms the possibility of obtaining an appraisal of customs value

The FG Hamburg confirmed the procedure of customs. It was not important here that the court itself had doubts about the declared transaction value. It is sufficient that it can understand the official doubts[/bold], which was the case here.

Customs valuation law is an extremely complex matter. In addition to the economic consequences, mistakes can also have criminal consequences. Therefore, get competent advice at every stage of the process


Lawyer Dr. Tristan Wegner

Your consultant

ABC-Straße 21
20354 Hamburg
T +49 (0) 40 / 36 96 15 0
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