Processing of personal data in customs clearance

Purpose of processing personal data

Customs Clearance (includes functions of customs clearance and correction) processes personal data for the purpose of customs clearance and imposition of customs duties in its tasks, namely

  • Customs procedures
    • release for free circulation (import)
    • special procedures 
      • transit (outward and inward transit)
      • storage (customs warehousing and free zones)
      • specific use (temporary admission and end-use)
      • processing (inward and outward processing)
    • export (including temporary export, re-export and exit) 
  • other notifications related to customs clearance
    • temporary storage
    • providing proof of Union status
    • destruction
    • abandonment to the State
    • safety and security declarations (declarations at the stage of arrival and exit)
  • Imposition of customs duties, excise duties, VAT as well as tax-like charges based on importation and exportation of goods and the performance of required tasks based on this
  • Tax based issues and trade policy affairs
  • Import correction (the Corrections Function)
    • processing of subsequent taxation related to customs duty, the Åland tax border and fairway dues as well as other import taxes related to imports from third countries and levied under Customs’ competence (value added tax, excise duty) and charges (penalty fees, service charges) and processing of appeals (returns, cancellations) 
    • processing of other claims for revision (e.g. binding tariff information) 
    • processing of changes to statistics
    • processing of subsequent taxation and appeals (refunds, cancellations)
    • making decisions on suspension of implementation
    • providing statements to the appellate authority
    • providing advance rulings
    • processing of relief applications
  • Export correction (Electronic Service Centre, customs offices)
    • correction and invalidation of export declarations and changes to statistics 
    • invalidation and cancellation of a transit

Personal data are also processed in the technical follow-up of message exchange by the Electronic Service Centre and in the approval procedure concerning message exchange customers. 

Personal data are processed for the development of the customs clearance service, procedures related to customs taxation and data systems as well as in the following-up of the correctness of customs operations.

Personal data are processed in customs clearance functions when responding to customers’ questions and feedback as well as when transmitting them to the Customs Information Service. There is a separate statement on how personal data are processed in customer services.

Personal data are processed when handling and responding to feedback on accessibility concerning customs clearance services. 

Personal data are also processed when handling and responding to requests for documents and data concerning customs clearance services. 

The Customs Clearance Service also processes personal data in foreign vessel traffic, for which a separate processing statement has been drafted.
Personal data for the performance of Customs’ statutory tasks are processed in accordance with the Customs Act (304/2016) and the Union Customs Code (EU 952/2013) and according to provisions adopted based on the Code. Personal data obtained from a criminal procedure are processed based on EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679), when the data in question are processed in taxation tasks. The basis for the legal processing of personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Regulation is compliance with the controller’s statutory obligation.

Categories of personal data

The following data of private customers are collected: 

  • first and last names, personal identity codes, email addresses, and phone numbers (mobile phones)
  • first or last names, dates of birth, other than mobile telephone numbers, home and other addresses, vehicle’s identification details and passport numbers 
  • web addresses and photos (copies of passports and personal ID cards)
  • position, occupation, country of residence, status of representation, native language, communication language, citizenship 
  • details of transactions and customer transactions

The following data are collected of responsible persons and contact persons at businesses:

  • first and last names, personal identity codes, email addresses, and phone numbers (mobile phones)
  • first or last names, dates of birth, other than mobile telephone numbers, home and other addresses, identification details of vehicles and passport numbers 
  • web addresses and photos (copies of passports and personal ID cards)
  • position, occupation, country of residence, status of representation, native language, communication language, citizenship 
  • details of transactions and customer transactions

Personal data belonging to special categories (previously called sensitive personal data) may be included in attached documents. Customs clearance decisions may include details, which can be deduced directly or indirectly as belonging to special categories by combining it to other data. 

Sources of personal data

Personal data are obtained from customers, transport companies, other functions/departments of Customs and from other authorities, such as the Police or the Tax Administration. Address and native language details for decisions, are obtained from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s Finnish Population Register. Details of persons, who identify themselves in customs clearance services, are obtained from the service.

Regular disclosures of personal data

The customs clearance details are disclosed to parties concerned. 

Customs clearance details can be transferred on reasonable grounds to other functions within Customs, for the performance of Customs’ official tasks.

Furthermore, data are disclosed to other authorities for the performance of official tasks in accordance with the Act on the Openness of Government Activities of Finland (21.5.1999/621) and in accordance with the Act on the Processing of Personal Data by Finnish Customs (639/2015). The data are disclosed when the right to information has been prescribed by special provisions in legislation. Most commonly, the data are disclosed upon request to other authorities based on the legal right to information, when the request concerns the performance of official tasks.

Personal data related to customs clearance are also disclosed to the following operators:

  • to the Official Journal published by the Prime Minister’s Office via Edita Publishing OY (general notifications)
  • to the Chamber of Commerce, details of ATA Carnet transactions
  • TIR data to the Finnish Transport and Logistics association SKAL, which acts as a national guaranteeing association for TIR as well as to the International Road Transport Union (IRU), which acts as an organiser of the international guarantee chain
  • to the European Commission, data on the release of goods for free circulation and export, for the preparing of Customs systems of preferences and trade measures, for monitoring and preventing frauds as well as for supervising the use of binding tariff information and for ensuring tax collection in VAT-exempt import procedures
  • to other Member States in the European Union, advance data messages concerning exports
  • to other countries, which are part of the joint transit territory and parties to the transit convention but outside the European Union, details of the transit
  • to the Federal Customs Service of Russia, details of the TIR transit obtained via the European Commission
  • to the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) for examining and preventing fraud
  • The Paytrail payment service receives the personal details of Customs’ customers (name, payment amount, reference number and payment method details) when customers have selected Paytrail as the method of payment in our e-service. Paytrail also receives our customers’ email addresses for sending a payment confirmation message.

Personal customs clearance data are transferred to the National Archives of Finland if they are to be stored indefinitely. 

Customs clearance data are processed by Customs’ personnel, who carry out customs clearance and correction tasks or who require customs clearance and correction data in their work.

Automated decision-making and profiling

Personal data may be processed in automated decision-making through general legislation that entered into force on 1 May 2023. Automated decision-making is when a decision by an authority is made without human intervention.  The customer is always notified of automated decision-making in the beginning of the process, and it is possible to request an administrative review of an automatic decision.  Decisions regarding minors can also be made automatically.

Finnish Customs does not utilize profiling in the processing of personal data.

Personal data retention and disposal times

Personal data collected in Customs clearances are stored for a period in accordance with statutory obligations or as defined. The storage times are specified in Customs’ data management plan. The storage times vary from one to ten years depending on the document type. When the statutory basis for retaining personal data has ended, the data are deleted in accordance with Customs’ normal practice based on an annual review. 

Contact person of the data controller and additional information

Jarmo Räikkä