Companies must be careful with the transit procedure. If goods are declared under a Community transit procedure (T1 procedure) but are inadvertently not dispatched, import duties may be incurred.

This case had to be decided by the Federal Fiscal Court (judgement of 11.12.2012, Az. VII R 3/12).

Goods arrived at Frankfurt/Main Airport and were transferred there to a warehouse with customs status “temporary storage”. The goods should then be transported to the consignee under an external Community transit procedure. A transit procedure has also been opened for the goods. Due to a defect, however, the goods were ultimately not loaded on board the truck. Rather, she was left behind in the camp. The main customs office took the view that the goods had been removed from customs supervision and issued an import duty decision.

The Federal Fiscal Court has expressed the view that no customs debt should arise in these cases. Because a customs debt for withdrawal from customs supervision should only arise if the goods erroneously enter the economic cycle of the European Union. However, if the goods are not collected, this risk does not exist because they are still under customs supervision in the customs warehouse.

However, since this view can be doubted, the Federal Fiscal Court has referred this question to the European Court of Justice. It will have to wait and see.

Until then, companies should be aware that a shipment that may not be collected from a storage facility may result in import duties due to removal from customs supervision.

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