What is export?

Export means taking Union goods to non-EU territories. Export goods are to be placed under the export procedure by lodging an export declaration.

An export declaration must be lodged also when goods are exported to regions outside the fiscal territory of the EU, for example the Canary Islands, and when goods are taken from the Åland Islands to locations other than Finland.

Goods are usually exported permanently, which means that they are not intended to be imported back into the EU. Export can also be temporary when goods are exported, for example, for an exhibition or presentation. Goods exported temporarily are meant to be returned into the EU in the same condition after they have been used. Goods can also be exported for processing or repair.

Direct export

In direct export, the export procedure is started in Finland, and the goods exit Finland for a region outside the customs territory of the EU.

Indirect export

In indirect export (ECS = Export Control System), the export procedure begins in Finland and the goods exit the EU through some other Member State.

Read more: Export declarations

A statistical declaration must be submitted on trade within the EU

When goods are exported from Finland to another Member State in the customs and fiscal territory of the EU, this constitutes internal trade, and an export declaration is not required.

However, if the value of exports exceeds a certain threshold during a single year, the company must submit an Intrastat declaration on internal trade to Customs. In 2016, the threshold value for exports was over 500 000 euros. A company does not have to keep track of whether the threshold is possibly exceeded. Instead, Customs will inform the company of the obligation to provide information.

The Intrastat system is used for gathering information on trade between Finland and other EU countries. Read more: Intrastat declarations 

Why is an export declaration needed?

With the export declaration, the customs authorities of the exporting country supervise the possible export restrictions and prohibitions on export goods, gather statistical information on foreign trade, combat terrorism and international crime, levy possible export duties (not levied in the EU at the moment) and supervise the exit of export goods from the EU, among other things.

Value added taxation on export trade

The selling of goods to countries outside the EU is exempt from value added tax (VAT). Customs confirms the decision on release, and using an export declaration with confirmation of exit, traders can prove to the tax authorities of the Member State where they are established the grounds for a transaction’s VAT exemption.

The Tax Administration gives instructions on the value added taxation and tax-exempt sale relating to export trade. You can read the instructions here: Value added taxation on export trade (in Finnish)

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