Customers have found it difficult to apply for revisions – Customs has clarified instructions for applications together with customers
Our customers can apply for revisions, that is, corrections of their customs clearances. We have now clarified the revision form and instructions for private customers. We made the changes in cooperation with our customers, and based them on legal design.
Revision means that a customer can apply for a correction of their customs clearance, for example, when the details relating to the clearance must be changed, or when the customer cancels a trade transaction. Most applications for revisions by private customers last year concerned refunds and cancellations. As online trade has increased, the number of applications for revisions has also risen when compared to 2020.
Better results step by step
Feedback from our customers indicated that they did not know exactly when and how revisions can be applied for. We have now improved the revision application form and the instructions for completing it. Our aim was to make the process easier for our customers, and used legal design in our work.
The aim of legal design is to facilitate transactions with authorities, and to improve the possibilities of citizens to look after their rights. At Customs, our customers took part in changing the application process step by step.
– Revision is not an automated continuation of the customs clearance process, and few people consider it in connection with customs clearance. A revision application may not be needed until after days or months after the actual customs clearance transaction. Of the perceived stumbling blocks, the most significant ones involve finding information on revisions and understanding instructions, says Ms Katri Talke, head of the legal design project.
– The aim of our project was to improve our customers’ possibilities to act independently and to better facilitate citizens’ rights. We also aimed to point out the right places our customers can go to when they require instructions, says Katri Talke.
As for the revision form and instructions, the emphasis was on textual clarity. Our objective was for all of our customers to understand the circumstances where it is possible to apply for a revision. Clear texts help our customers to take the right steps without resorting to customer services, which makes the process more expedient.
Revisions of customs decision can be applied for
The processing of revisions at Customs is currently under a heavy strain due to changes in data systems. The processing time for applications is currently about eight months.
– We are very sorry about the situation, and for any inconvenience our customers may experience due to delays. We process applications in their order of arrival, and indeed a carefully completed application will enable faster processing. It is regrettable that very often information is missing from applications, and we have to contact our customers for that information afterwards. The most typical problems involve missing bank account numbers or insufficient grounds for claims, says Ms Nadja Painokallio.
Customs decides on revision applications concerning customs duties, import VAT, the Åland tax border, fairway dues and other import duties in matters of taxation that fall under Customs competence. In 2021, Customs issued more than 13 000 decisions on revisions.