Archiving of import clearance documents

All importers, i.e. goods holders, must see to the archiving of customs clearance documents after lodging electronic customs declarations. Documents are not delivered to Customs for archiving. Import declarations provided on paper and their enclosures, however, are still archived by Customs.

Obligation to archive documents

Importers and their agents are required to archive electronic import clearance documents. An importer company is responsible for archiving documents related to electronic import clearance when

  • the company itself acts as an EDI sender
  • the company uses online import
  • the company uses an agent as a direct representative
  • the company uses an agent as a direct representative with the responsibility of a guarantor

Although the importer company is responsible for archiving in these cases, the importer can also assign the archiving to an agent. Private persons who are importers also have the same responsibility to archive documents as importer companies.

An agent is responsible for archiving electronic import clearances where the agent has provided an import declaration on behalf of the importer as an indirect representative.

Documents to be archived

Documents to be archived include all customs clearance documents and commercial documents related to import. These documents include decisions on customs clearances and releases, trade invoices, freight and transport documents, proofs of origin and decisions on corrections related to appeals.

The documents can be archived either electronically or on paper. Only permits or other documents verified by an authority with a signature, stamp or otherwise must be stored as paper documents.

  • FORM A certificates of origin
  • EUR.1, EUR-MED and A.TR. movement certificates, and
  • invoice declarations and declarations of origin that are signed by the exporter in the exporting country and that do not include any authorisation number of an authorised exporter.

Place of archiving

Paper documents must always be archived in Finland, either on the premises of the importer or, based on an assignment, for example in an accounting company or on the premises of an agent. The documents must be reliable, authentic and complete and they are to have weight as evidence throughout the time they are archived.

Archiving period

Customs clearance documents must remain archived for six (6) years after the end of the calendar year during which the decision on the release of goods under an import procedure was made.

Putting documents at Customs’ disposal

Customs is entitled to inspect customs clearance documents which, when necessary, must be delivered to Customs without delay at the expense of the importer. Electronically archived documents must, when necessary, be provided to Customs in a generally used format.

If the importer goes out of business or goes bankrupt, the material to be archived must be transferred to Customs for archiving at the expense of the importer. If a company which has taken on the assignment of archiving documents goes out of business or goes bankrupt, it must transfer the archive material to the importer that gave the archiving assignment.

Archive contact person of the importer

The importer’s contact person for customs matters is also the contact person for archiving.

The importer on whose behalf electronic declarations are lodged can receive a monthly list of customs clearances which the agent has carried out as a direct representative or as a direct representative with the responsibility of a guarantor. The list shows the number of the customs clearance decision, clearance date, holder of the goods, forwarder, reference number and additional reference. The list request can be sent to arkistoedi(at)tulli.fi. The processing takes 2–4 weeks. The service is subject to a charge.

Read more

  • Decision No. 182/010/2011 of the National Board of Customs, 7 November 2011 (THT newsletter 182/2011)

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