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Binding tariff information from abroad is not binding on German authorities

Many companies apply for binding tariff information (BTI). This gives them security as to the classification of their goods in the customs tariff. The Federal Fiscal Court has now decided that false foreign binding tariff information for German customs authorities has no binding effect

German customs offices represented a different tariffing

In the decisive case, the company had imported a so-called adhesive tape dispenser. This automatically ejected adhesive strips of a previously set length and cut them off so that they could be glued manually onto a carton for packaging. German customs considered that the goods should be classified under subheading 8472 90 70. However, the company had a binding tariff information from England according to which the goods were to be classified under subheading 8422 40 00. German customs took the view that the tariff classification by the British customs authorities was incorrect and did not take account of the binding tariff information.

British vZTA does not bind German customs offices

The Federal Fiscal Court has now decided that companies may not be able to derive any rights from a false foreign binding tariff information in the interior. In particular, it did not follow from the principle of equality that the German authorities had to carry out the tariff classification in the same way as the British authorities. The only decisive factor is which tariff classification is the correct one. If, therefore, the tariff classification of a particular product by a customs office proves to be incorrect, it cannot be used as a basis in another import case. In its decision of 30.03.2015, the Federal Fiscal Court also stated that in cases of differing pricing views, either the European Commission must strive for harmonisation or the European Court of Justice must answer this question within the framework of a submission for a specific dispute.

Do you have any questions about binding customs tariff information? Please contact our team directly. We will be happy to help you at any time. You can reach us via this website or by phone and e-mail. Contact us right here
Attorney Dr. Tristan Wegner

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