Duty relief for scientific instruments and apparatus as well as for spare parts, components, accessories and certain tools for them
Upon written application, Customs can grant authorisation for relief from customs duty for scientific instruments and apparatus, their spare parts, components and accessories as well as for certain tools by virtue of the Regulation on reliefs from customs duty. However, value added tax will be levied.
Authorisation for relief from customs duty shall be applied for in writing in good time before the import, and it shall be presented to Customs upon customs clearance of the articles. The authorisation may be granted to a public establishment or its department or a private establishment authorised by Customs, principally engaged in education or scientific research. Another condition for the authorisation is that the goods are intended to be used for non-profit-making scientific research or educational purposes.
Note that the duty levied on the goods may be 0% based on the customs tariff or preferential origin, in which case an authorisation for relief from customs duty does not have any economic benefits.
What does scientific instrument or apparatus mean?
In this context, “scientific instrument or apparatus” means any instrument or apparatus which, by reason of its objective technical characteristics and the results which it makes possible to obtain, is mainly or exclusively suited to scientific activities. Technical characteristics refer to those characteristics resulting from the construction of that instrument or apparatus or from adjustments to a standard instrument or apparatus which make it possible to obtain high-level performances above those normally required for industrial or commercial use.
Where it is not possible to establish clearly on the basis of its technical characteristics whether an instrument or apparatus is to be regarded as a scientific instrument or apparatus, reference shall be made to the use of the instrument or apparatus. In cases open to interpretation, the instrument or apparatus shall be deemed to be of a scientific nature if it is used for scientific purposes.
Relief from customs duty in accordance with the Regulation on reliefs from customs duty is always subject to authorisation for relief from customs duty, granted before the entry of the goods for free circulation. An authorisation to import scientific instruments and apparatus duty-free can be granted to a public or private establishment or its department principally engaged in education or scientific research.
Authorisation for relief from customs duties is granted to such scientific instruments and apparatus detailed in the Regulation on reliefs from customs duty that are imported for non-profit scientific research and education.
Relief from customs duty can also be granted to spare parts, components, accessories and tools intended for scientific instruments and apparatus. In this context, accessories refer to goods specially designed for use with scientific instruments and apparatus for the purpose of improving its performance and scope. Tools refer to tools used for the maintenance, checking, calibration or repair of such instruments or apparatus.
Relief from customs duty can be granted when the spare parts, components, accessories or tools are imported at the same time as the instruments or apparatus they are intended for. Relief from customs duty can also be granted when the spare parts, components, accessories or tools are imported subsequently, provided that they can be identified as being intended for instruments or apparatus
- which have previously been admitted duty free with an authorisation for relief from customs duty, provided that they are still of a scientific nature within the meaning of the Regulation on reliefs from customs duty
- which would be entitled to relief at the time when such relief is requested for spare parts, components, accessories or tools
- that meet the conditions prescribed in Article 44 of the Regulation on reliefs from customs duty when relief is requested for spare parts, components, accessories or tools.
Authorisation for relief from customs duty should be applied for in good time before the goods are imported. The authorisation cannot be granted if the goods have already been cleared for free circulation. The authorisation can be applied for with a single application for several instruments or apparatus or goods even if they were imported separately. The authorisation is valid for a maximum of six months, but Customs can, for special reasons, impose a longer period of validity. The authorisation is in writing and free of charge. No advance rulings are issued.
The application must be submitted in the name of the establishment or department. The authorisation is applied for with customs form 848s or 849s (in Finnish) or with a free-form application containing the information requested in the application form. The application can be signed by
- a person with authority to sign on behalf of the establishment
- a person authorised to submit an application by a person with authority to sign
- In such case, an original power of attorney signed by the person with authority to sign must be enclosed with the application.
The application form shall be sent by post to the Customs Authorisation Centre, PO Box 56, 90401 Oulu or by email to lupakeskus(at)tulli.fi.
A customs declaration shall be lodged for the goods using the customs procedure code 40 xx (xx is the previous procedure). Relief from customs duty is applied for using a specific additional procedure code:
- C11 educational, scientific and cultural materials; scientific instruments and apparatus listed in Annex I (EC No 1186/2009)
- C12 educational, scientific and cultural materials; scientific instruments and apparatus listed in Annex IIA (EC No 1186/2009)
- C13 educational, scientific and cultural materials; scientific instruments and apparatus (spare parts, components, accessories and tools)
- C14 equipment imported for non-commercial purposes or on behalf of a scientific research establishment or organisation based outside the EU
If you use the additional procedure codes C12–C14, the company must have an authorisation for relief from customs duty, applied for prior to import. The goods are also subject to a restriction on transfer.
Provide the number and date of the authorisation for relief from customs duty using the code 1ZZZ in the customs declaration, in the field for additional documents at declaration header level or in the field for additional documents at goods item level.
If you use the SAD form, provide the number and date of the authorisation for relief from customs duty in box 44.
If you are lodging a simplified import declaration that will be processed in the ITU system, use the national procedure code 3RF (scientific instruments and apparatus) or C13 (spare parts, components, accessories and tools).
If relief from customs duty has been granted for the goods by virtue of Articles 44 and 45 of the Regulation on reliefs from customs duty, the lending, hiring out, selling and transferring of the goods is subject to restrictions. If the goods are going to be lent, hired out or transferred, whether for a consideration or free of charge, a prior notification to Customs is required. As a rule, lending, hiring out or transferring goods shall entail payment of the relevant import duties. Should goods be lent, hired out or transferred to a party entitled to benefit from relief on the same grounds, the relief shall continue to be granted provided the said party uses the article for purposes which confer the right to such relief.
Establishments which cease to fulfil the conditions giving entitlement to relief, or which are proposing to use goods admitted duty-free for purposes other than those provided for by Articles 44 or 45 of the Regulation on reliefs from customs duty shall so inform Customs. In such cases, import duties will be levied on the goods.
Such notifications are to be sent by email to: lupakeskus(at)tulli.fi.
- Council Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009 of 16 November 2009 setting up a Community system of reliefs from customs duty
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1225/2011 for the purposes of Articles 42 to 52 as well as Articles 57 and 58 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009 setting up a Community system of reliefs from customs duty.