Destruction of goods in commercial traffic

Goods in commercial traffic can be destroyed either at the customer’s request, or by Customs if they during the control of the goods find that the goods have to be destroyed.

Reasons for not accepting an import consignment presented to Customs, can also be found during an examination by the Customs Laboratory. The consignment might have to be destroyed, exported out of the country or restored.

Points to consider

When goods are destroyed at the customer’s request or initiative (excluding the customs warehousing procedure), they have to be place under the inward processing procedure. Destruction at the customer’s request is one of the inward processing operations mentioned in the new Customs Code (UCC). The customer may have an authorisation to destroy goods during inward processing, or the customer can have an agreement with another holder of an inward processing authorisation. The authorisation for inward processing can be a standard (written) authorisation or in some cases an authorisation for destruction can be applied for with a customs declaration (so called simplified authorisation procedure).

The goods are placed under the inward processing procedure with a customs declaration, either electronically or with a SAD form. When the destruction during the inward processing procedure is completed, the holder of the authorisation must provide the supervising customs office with a bill of discharge. The bill of discharge must, in a customs approved way, show that the destruction has occurred. For example, a certificate of destruction can be attached to the bill of discharge. The certificate must also be added to the inward processing accounts. If destruction of the goods results in re-usable goods such as scrap, the scrap must then be cleared separately through customs, that is, be placed under the another customs procedure, e.g. undergo customs clearance for free circulation.

The code for economic requirements regarding destruction during the inward processing is 19 (XTH).
Inward processing

If goods are brought into the Union to be destroyed, then the inward processing procedure must be used.

The customs warehousing procedure can be discharged with the destruction of the goods under customs supervision or with release of the goods to the State. In this situation, the destruction must be agreed upon with the customs office, which supervises the warehouse and endorses the certificate of destruction after the goods have been destroyed.

The certificate of destruction of the goods under the customs warehousing procedure is added to the stock records of the warehouse.

After Customs has inspected the goods it may be established that the goods cannot be restored or brought onto the Finnish market nor be exported out of the country without a specific authorisation document. Then the alternative is destruction of the goods. The destruction takes place under customs supervision in specific waste disposal facilities or under other specified procedures. In this case, the goods are not placed under the inward processing procedure, rather the destruction takes place in accordance with article 197 of the UCC, in which case, the customer is responsible for the costs in accordance with article 198 of the UCC.

The Customs Control Group agrees on the destruction with the declarant (holder of the goods). A certificate of destruction is drafted, which is sent to the Electronic Service Centre. The Electronic Service Centre finalises the customs declaration for the goods and the procedure is discharged.


Customs controls, on its own authority, foods of non-animal origin and specific consumer goods. These so called product safety controls take place at the Customs Laboratory. 

After the control, the Enforcement Department’s Product Safety Unit can conclude that the product cannot be placed on the Finnish market. In that case, the customer can choose to restore the goods or re-export them out of Finland with the permission of the Product Safety Group, or destroy them under customs supervision. In these cases, the Product Safety Unit sends the examination results to the Electronic Service Centre or, in cases of cash clearances, to the customs office. Either way, the customer will be informed of the alternatives.

The Product Safety Unit can also order that products, which cause a health risk, be destroyed in accordance with the Food Act or the Consumer Safety Act. The customer must notify Customs of the decision on destruction to the Electronic Service Centre by email to spake.tuonti(at) The Electronic Service Centre sends the assignment regarding the supervision of the destruction to the Control Group, which agrees on the destruction with the customer. The report, drafted by the Control Group regarding the destruction is delivered to the customer, the Electronic Service Centre and the Product Safety Unit. The Electronic Service Centre finalises the customs declaration for the goods and the procedure is discharged.

The declarant agrees with the supervising customs office on the destruction of samples of foodstuffs and consumer goods in internal trade. The destruction takes place in the same way as when destroying customs cleared consignments.

Products subject to excise duties and which have been destroyed during transport or have expired, must be destroyed under customs supervision. Even though the Tax Administration is responsible for the excise taxation, Customs still supervises the destruction of goods. Customs’ Command Centre must be contacted when goods are to be destroyed (tel. 0295 527 041, johtokeskus(at) The Command Centre then sends the assignment to the supervising customs office. Information to the Command Centre:

  • customer’s name
  • goods and quantity to be destroyed
  • time when the goods is to be destroyed
  • place of destruction
  • declaration number (EMCS/warehouse deposit number).

A certificate of destruction which Customs records, is drafted for the destruction. If needed, the Tax Administration requests the information of the destruction from Customs.