Import of returned goods

Goods can be returned from outside the EU to the territory of the EU free of customs duty within three years of their export from the EU. It must be possible to verify the export from the EU. The goods may have originally been exported or sold from any Union country. Goods exported temporarily or sold may also be returned free of customs duty. The goods must be returned in the condition in which they were exported.

Returned goods are exempt from import duties even where they represent only a proportion of the goods exported from the Union. This also applies to returned goods that are parts or accessories of machines, devices, equipment or other products previously exported from the customs territory of the Union.

If the goods have been sold free of tax to a country outside the Union and they are cleared back as returned goods, VAT must be levied on them. VAT must also be paid for returned goods if the importer is not the same as the exporter.

Importers registered for VAT declare the import VAT details to the Finnish Tax Administration on their own initiative by filing a VAT return. Read more on the Tax Administration website: Value added taxation of imported goods. Read also Customs’ customer bulletin: Tax-exempt imports in value added taxation.

If the returning goods have been exported temporarily from the Union under the customs procedure 22xx or 23xx, it is re-export. Read the instructions on how to submit a re-import declaration.

Conditions for the relief from customs duty on returned goods

Returned goods can only be free of customs duty if they meet the following conditions:

1. It must be possible to verify the export from the Union

It must be possible to prove, e.g. with one of the following documents, that the goods have previously been exported from the territory of the EU 

  • certification of exit
  • Information sheet INF 3
  • other reliable document, for example
    • an import clearance decision by a non-Union country, or a copy of the document
    • regarding vehicles, a certificate on the removal of the vehicle from the Finnish Vehicular and Driver Data Register.

2. The goods must be returned to the Union within three years of the date of export

In special circumstances, an extension of the time limit can be applied for from the Authorisation Centre. Please note the following:

  • Agricultural products must be returned to the Union within 12 months of the date of export. An extension of the time limit can be applied for from the Customs Authorisation Centre.
  • Agricultural products for which export refunds have previously been received may not be treated as returned goods.
  • If the goods have been cleared into the Union with a reduced rate of customs duty or free of customs duty on the basis of their end-use and afterwards exported from the Union, they may be imported back to the Union as returned goods free of duty only if they are returned for the same end-use.
  • Processed products re-exported after the inward processing procedure can be cleared as returned goods, as long as the customs debt is levied in accordance with UCC Article 86(3) (Union Customs Code, Regulation (EU) No 952/2013) on goods previously placed under the inward processing procedure and contained in the processed products (“raw materials”). All other conditions set in UCC Article 203, such as the time limit, must also be fulfilled. If equivalent goods have been used in the activity, processed products can be treated as returned goods only if it is ensured that the right of import that has arisen regarding the equivalent goods has not been and will not be used (UCC Article 205)

3. VAT must be paid if it is not possible to apply for exemption from VAT

If the goods have been sold free of tax to a country outside the Union and they are cleared back as returned goods, VAT must be paid for them. Import VAT is also levied when goods used in Finland in a way that entitles to a deduction have been exported to a country outside the EU, sold there and are then brought back to Finland as returned goods. If exemption from VAT is applied for regarding the returned goods (94(1)(18) VAT Act), the goods must be returned to the original exporter.

Points to consider

If you are submitting your declaration in the Customs Clearance Service or via message exchange, provide the following details:

  • procedure code 4010, return of permanently exported goods
  • Select one of the following EU codes for additional procedures.
    • F01 = returned goods, relief from import duty (Customs Code, article 203)
    • F02 = agricultural products, relief from import duty of returned goods (special circumstances referred to in Article 159 of the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446: agricultural products)
    • F03 = returned goods, relief from import duty of returned goods (special circumstances referred to in Article 158, section 3 of the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446: repair or restoration)
  • If the import is also exempt from VAT (VAT Act, section 94(1)(18)), please also enter the additional procedure code 642. If you enter the additional procedure code 642 for VAT-exempt import, please also enter the code 4PAS as the code for additional document (customs form 348s ”Selvitys palautustavarasta” (account of returned goods), PDF”).
  • nature of transaction 21 (the goods are returned to the exporter) - secondary valuation method
  • nature of transaction 11 (the goods have been resold and are returned to the Union) - valuation based on the transaction price
  • preferential treatment 100
  • additional document C660 (export declaration), MRN

Providing the value details

Provide the following value details:

  • If the nature of transaction is 21 (the goods are returned to the exporter), the value of the goods (transaction price) can be 0 euros.
    • The price at which the goods were sold from the EU can be used as the value of the returning goods. The value contains the additional costs outside the borders of the EU, e.g. freight and insurance costs.
      • Provide the value of the goods with the code ‘1A’ as total to be added.
      • The code “1A” can’t be used if the value of the entire consignment exceeds 20 000 euros. In this case, use the code “AK”.
  • If the nature of transaction is 11 (the goods have been resold and are returned to the Union), provide the value of the goods (transaction price).
    • The customs value also includes additional items, such as freight and insurances, only if they are not already included in the transaction price. These are provided with separate codes.
  • statistical value 
    • Statistical value refers to the price of the goods in which the additional costs incurred outside the Union (such as freight and insurance) up to the Finnish border have been taken into account. The taxes and charges levied in Finland are not included in the statistical value. The statistical value cannot be 0.

Declarant not registered for VAT

If the declarant is an operator who is not registered for VAT, provide the following details as adjustments to the transaction price for the calculation of the taxable amount for VAT. Provide the following details with separate codes:

  • the costs for transport, loading, unloading and insurance as well as other import-related costs up to the first place of destination in Finland specified in the transport contract (code 3A)
  • the costs for transport, loading, unloading and insurance as well as other costs up to another destination in the territory of the Union that are known at the time when the liability to pay VAT arises (code 3D)
  • other taxes and charges with the exception of VAT, which are levied by the State or the Union due to the import of goods in connection with customs clearance (code 3B)
  • any taxes and other charges payable outside Finland (code 3C).

Fallback procedure

If there is a service interruption in the Customs Clearance Service and you are using the fallback procedure, provide the same details in the SAD form as in the Customs Clearance Service.


These are instructions for businesses whose customers, living outside the EU customs territory, bring in goods into the customs territory of the EU for repairs or for replacement under warranty.

When goods are imported for repairs

Goods brought into the customs territory of the EU for repairs, must be cleared through customs. If the customer does not want to pay import duties or VAT for the goods, they can be placed under the inward processing procedure. The inward processing procedure requires an authorisation. More specific instructions on inward processing here.

Primarily, holders of inward processing authorisations must be based in the Union customs territory; therefore, it is recommended that the company carrying out the repairs apply for the inward processing authorisation. The company can apply for the authorisation from Customs either in advance or when the goods are placed under the procedure; by adding certain additional information in the customs declaration.

The granting of the authorisation also requires lodging a guarantee. Read more on guarantees. The guarantee, which was lodged in connection with the import clearance is released or returned when the repaired goods have been re-exported from the EU customs territory and the required bill of discharge has been submitted. Goods to be re-exported must be cleared for export and the goods and documents pertaining to them, must be presented to Customs before the goods exit the Union.

If the goods brought in for repairs are not cleared for inward processing by the authorisation holder, i.e. the company carrying out the repairs, the customer must clear the goods

either as normal customs clearance upon import, and normal import duties and taxes are levied (more information: What are import duties and taxes?)
or place the goods under the inward processing procedure. Occasionally, it is also possible to grant the inward processing authorisation to a person established outside the customs territory of the Union. In these situations, it pays to be in touch with Customs Business Information Service well in advance for more information: Contact information for Customs

If, instead of repairing the goods, the company replaces the goods with equivalent undamaged goods (replacement under warranty), the company must apply for an authorisation for inward processing from Customs in advance.

When goods are imported for replacement under warranty

Goods brought into the customs territory of the EU for replacement under warranty, must be cleared through customs. If the customer does not want to pay import duties or VAT for the goods, they can be placed under the inward processing procedure. More specific instructions on inward processing here. The inward processing procedure requires an authorisation. Replacing goods under warranty requires that an authorisation for inward processing has been applied for from Customs in advance. The authorisation must include a mention of the possibility of using equivalent goods. Read more: Using equivalent goods for special procedures (PDF in Finnish)

A company should apply for a Customs authorisation for inward processing if it has customers to whom it replaces goods under warranty. The guarantee, which was lodged in connection with the import clearance, is released when the goods replaced under warranty have been re-exported from the EU customs territory and the required bill of discharge has been submitted. Goods replaced under warranty and ready to be exported, must be cleared for export and the goods and documents pertaining to them must be presented to Customs before the goods exit the Union.

The authorisation holder, i.e. the company replacing the product, must fill in a customs declaration regarding goods arriving for replacement under warranty. The seller and the customer must in advance agree on who should submit the customs declaration and who should notify the border customs office.

If the goods brought in for replacement under warranty, are not placed under the inward processing procedure by the seller, the customer must clear the goods personally

  • either as returned goods, provided that no more than three years have passed since the goods were exported
  • or as normal customs clearance upon import, and normal import duties and taxes are levied.

More information on returned goods and import duties and taxes