Upcoming changes to the customs declarations on imports to Åland
The customs declarations for goods imported to the Åland Islands from outside the EU or from other EU countries will undergo changes at the end of 2020. At the same time, a new combined import and export declaration will be introduced for goods transported between the region of the Åland Islands and the rest of Finland.
Changes to businesses’ declarations for imports from outside or within the EU
Businesses must submit their customs declarations on imports electronically at the end of 2020, when import declarations are introduced in Customs’ new customs clearance system. However, the declarations for inward processing and temporary admission, the simplified declarations and the declarations for electricity imported from Sweden will not undergo changes until the end of 2021, at the earliest. The import declarations can either be submitted via Customs’ e-service or as a message sent directly from the company’s own system. Should the import system be unavailable, the import declarations are to be lodged in accordance with separate fallback procedure instructions.
There will be changes to the codes used in the declarations. For example, 49 has been the customs procedure code provided for goods imported from the EU to Åland. In future, the customs procedure code to be provided for these goods will be 40, together with a new additional procedure code F15.
The data contents of the customs declarations for imports have been described in the message data requirements on the Customs website.
Changes to the procedure for imports from other EU countries to Åland
The upcoming changes to the declaration procedure for imports will mean that a commercial or administrative document, such as an invoice or a transport document, can no longer be used as a presentation notification for the goods. In addition, the use of arrival numbers and the 10-day time limit for customs clearance will also end.
When goods are imported from another Union country to the Åland Islands without a previous customs procedure (for example without a transit procedure), the import declaration cannot be submitted in advance prior to the arrival of the goods.
Low-value consignments must also be declared to Customs
Later on, a separate customs declaration will be introduced for low-value consignments worth 150 euros or less that are imported from outside the EU. The new declaration will require a smaller set of details than the standard import declaration. This change is due to an amendment of the EU’s VAT directive, which requires that, in future, an import customs declaration must be submitted for all goods imported from outside the EU or across the tax border, including goods with a value of 22 euros or less.
New declaration for businesses in the goods traffic between Åland and mainland Finland
Starting in late 2020, the customs declarations for goods transported between the Åland Islands and the rest of Finland must also be submitted electronically. An import declaration submitted for goods imported to Åland will simultaneously function as an export declaration, that is, a declaration on dispatch. In other words, this national tax border declaration will function both as a customs declaration and a presentation notification.
The national tax border declaration is to be submitted to Customs’ Import Declaration Service for businesses in the same way as the customs declarations for goods imported from outside the EU and from other EU countries. The declaration can also be lodged as a message.
The data requirements for the tax border declarations for goods transported between Finland and Åland have been defined nationally and described in the message data requirements on the Customs website. Select “FI415A Customs declaration” and filter the data requirements using “National tax border declaration”.
Even after the introduction of the new customs clearance service, those VAT-registered businesses who submit summarising declarations to the ALA system are still to present the goods to Customs using the declaration form for tax border declarations. The data content of the current form will be updated already in September 2020, so that it conforms to the data content of the national import declaration. This declaration method (the summarising declarations to the ALA system and the related tax border declaration forms) will be phased out towards the end of 2021, at the earliest, and all declarations will then be submitted to Customs’ e-service.
Declarations by private persons in the goods traffic between Åland and the rest of Finland
At the end of 2020, the Import Declaration Service for private persons will be expanded to also include the customs declarations submitted for goods transported between the Åland Islands and the rest of Finland. The customs declaration must be submitted by the private person who is liable to pay the taxes for the import. Private persons will be able lodge the electronic declaration themselves via Customs’ e-service or use a representative to lodge the declaration on their behalf.
The changes are part of a comprehensive EU-wide reform of customs declarations. We will provide separate information about the changes to the following regulations of Finnish Customs regarding the Åland Islands:
Regulation (1/2018) of Finnish Customs on the regular use of simplified customs declarations when importing Union goods to the Åland Islands (available in Finnish and Swedish)
Amendment of Regulation 1/2019 of Finnish Customs on the customs clearance formalities for goods transported between the region of the Åland Islands and the rest of Finland (Regulation 4/2019, available in Finnish and Swedish)