Exceptional business support measures – Customs Payment facilities to help economic operators through the health crisis

By Stanislas ROQUEBERT

The customs administration provides for exceptional business support measures – Payment facilities to help economic operators through the health crisis: a broad scope and a remarkable action plan.

These measures have a very broad scope of application as they can :

  • cover all types of duties and taxes collected by the customs administration, including customs duties, indirect taxes, internal consumption taxes, environmental taxes, etc. ;
  • be of any kind: payment by instalments, adjustment, deferred payment, suspension, etc. ;
  • cover several months (unlimited period at this stage);
  • be complementary to other measures for deferring payment of a general nature (i.e. customs clearance procedures, etc.).

On the other hand, in order to benefit from these measures, operators must meet certain formal and substantive conditions:

  • as regards form, the operator must send the customs local office in charge of collection the form provided for this purpose – we recommend also sending an explanatory letter justifying the economic need to obtain these measures, with supporting figures ;
  • on the substance, the request must be motivated by a critical situation and proven financial difficulties.

Each application will be analysed on a case-by-case basis by the customs authorities, which is quite exceptional and demonstrates remarkable adaptation.

Finally, we recommend that we should also « take advantage » of the confinement to consider the implementation of optimisation measures that already exist but are not used enough despite the proposals of the administration, in particular:

  • the benefit of suspensive customs procedures / reliefs (storage, repair or transformation under suspension of duties and taxes for non-EU goods re-exported after these operations) ;
  • the request for reverse charge of VAT on imports (cash flow gain);
  • requests for tariff suspension (for cases of taxed imports when there is no supply in the EU);
  • the benefit of preferential origin (reduced or zero customs duties) provided for in the Free Trade Agreements in force with certain countries (possible change of sourcing).
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