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Proof of returned goods is incumbent on the applicant

How to import returns duty free?

  1. Remember to apply for clearance as returns.
  2. All conditions must be met for the re-import of the goods so that they can be imported duty-free as returned goods.
  3. In particular, does it have to be ensured that the identity of the goods is secured?
  4. Errors in the declaration as returned goods may lead to double customs clearance, so precise instructions from the customs service provider are important.

In its judgment of 11 November 2014, XII R 21/12, the Federal Fiscal Court (BFH) ruled that the applicant for returned goods must obtain the data required for the procedure himself. The manufacturer of the goods may not be required to provide information by the customs authorities under the applicable customs legislation.

Returned goods can be imported duty-free

Under certain conditions, goods exported from the European Union (EU) can later be imported back into the EU duty-free. Re-imports of motor vehicles manufactured in the EU often include non-EU parts that were imported and installed before the vehicle was exported to the EU. These parts cannot be considered duty-free when the vehicles are re-imported.

No duty of cooperation on the part of the manufacturer

In the underlying lawsuit, the re-importer could not state which parts of the vehicle had been installed as goods from third countries before being exported from the EU. The Federal Fiscal Court overturned the first-instance decision that the customs authorities should collect the necessary data from the vehicle manufacturer. According to the BFH, the customs administration is only obliged to take into account existing data in favour of the re-importer. Otherwise, it is incumbent on the re-importer to provide all the data required to claim the customs benefit.

O&W Attorneys at Law will be happy to answer your questions about your import and export business. Please contact us


Lawyer Dr. Tristan Wegner

Your consultant

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20354 Hamburg
T +49 (0) 40 / 36 96 15 0
F +49 (0) 40 / 36 96 15 15
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