Taxes, charges and customs duty reductions

The duties, taxes and charges to be levied by Customs are determined according to the commodity code, origin and customs value of the goods.

The taxes most commonly levied upon import are customs duties and value added tax. When goods are being imported from outside the EU, then so-called third country customs duties are levied on them. The third country duty rate based on the customs tariff is levied on goods unless preferential treatment, tariff quotas or tariff suspensions lower or remove the duty. When the goods are imported from outside EU’s fiscal territory, e.g. from the Canary Islands, value added tax is levied.

On 1 January 2018, value added tax within importation was transferred from Customs to the Tax Administration in situations where the importer is included in the register of VAT payers. Importers included in the register of VAT payers must provide the Tax Administration with information on import VAT on their own initiative on a VAT declaration. Further information is available on the Tax Administration website under the section on value added taxation on importation.

Excise duty is levied on goods such as alcohol and tobacco products, which are subject to excise duty in Finland. Customs collects the excise duties in connection to the customs clearance when the goods are cleared directly for release into free circulation and for consumption, and the customer pays all taxes immediately. In other cases, the excise duty is collected by the Tax Administration.

Customs duty reductions

The right to lower customs duties or zero duties can be granted based on the origin of goods. The application of this kind of preferential treatment always requires a written declaration or certificate of origin.

Preferential tariff treatment means that the duty levied on goods imported from countries outside the EU is for some reason lower than the general customs duty, or not levied at all.

The customs duty can be lowered based on agreements made by the EU or on unilateral concessions by the EU. These benefits may be associated with restrictions regarding yearly import volumes. Preferential tariff treatment bound to import volumes, i.e. subject to quotas, can also be based on agreements by the WTO (World Trade Organization).

The industries of Member States can also, through their own competent authorities and under certain conditions, apply for preferential tariff treatment for the raw materials used in their production.

You may also avoid having to pay duties and other taxes or be granted lower customs duties, if special procedures are used while importing. Special procedures are specific use (temporary admission and end-use) and processing (inward and outward processing).

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