For what purpose do I need a warehouse for uncleared goods?
You need a warehouse for uncleared goods if you don’t want to - or are not able to - clear the goods as soon as they arrive in Finland. Uncleared goods are goods that have been imported from outside the EU without paying customs duties or taxes. If you bring goods via Finland and re-export them out of the European Union, you can gain financially from storing the goods in a warehouse for uncleared goods.
You don’t have to pay customs duties or other tax-like charges when the uncleared goods are stored in a warehouse with a customs authorisation. Storage also makes it possible to choose the final customs procedure later. Also, the goods may await the authorisations and licences needed for import. If the goods are re-exported, no customs duties and taxes need to be paid for them in Finland.
In Finland, uncleared goods can be stored in temporary warehouses or customs warehouses. There are no free zones in Finland.
Select your approach: will you buy the service or will you store the goods yourself?
- Decide whether you want to apply for a warehousing authorisation for your company or to buy the service from someone else
- If you wish to store uncleared goods in a warehouse used by your company, you need an authorisation granted by Customs. The conditions for this are that your company is located within the EU, you have appropriate storage facilities and that your accounting is reliable.
- To acquire a warehousing authorisation, you need a comprehensive guarantee authorisation from Customs. Find out how much tax should be paid on the goods. The amount is about 30 % of the value of the goods. Be prepared to lodge a guarantee for that amount to Customs.
- Choose the appropriate approach and manner of storage
- Choose the appropriate approach according to the use of the goods. What will happen to the goods; are you re-exporting them from EU, will they be cleared through customs in Finland or sent back to the country of departure? If you pay customs duties on the goods upon import, the money will not be returned to you even if the goods are later taken out of the EU.
- The goods can be held in temporary storage for no more than 90 days. The storage period is not limited, when storing in a customs warehouse
- If you need short-term storage and nothing needs to be done to the goods, then temporary storage might suit your needs.
- If you need to store the goods for more than 90 days, or if the goods have to be processed in some way, then customs warehousing is the right alternative. Processes are e.g. sorting, re-packaging, attaching price labels or other labels and adding or changing parts.
What to check before storing the goods
- Find out where the goods are sent from or whether they’ve already been cleared into the EU
- You need a customs authorisation to store goods, if the goods are imported from a customs and fiscal territory outside the EU and they are stored uncleared within the EU, i.e. no taxes or duties have been paid during storage.
- It is also possible to deliver goods from within the EU to Finland, which have not been customs cleared into the EU.
- Storage service can also be bought. Many freight carriers, traders at the ports or at the airport cargo area as well as forwarding agencies, are authorised to store uncleared goods.
- Excise duty-free goods imported from within the EU can be stored in a warehouse intended for these goods. The Tax Administration grants the authorisation.
- Find out in advance, whether there are restrictions regarding the storing of the goods
- For example, there are restrictions regarding the storing of waste, medicines, weapons and defence materiel.
- All restrictions have their own responsible national authority and/or licensing authority (e.g. Fimea). The Customs restriction manual features the most important import, export and transit restrictions that Customs supervises.
- The restrictions also affect the warehouse keeper’s operation.
- Find out the precise goods description and commodity code before moving or transporting the goods to Finland>
- Provide the commercial or technical description of the goods in the warehousing declarations. The commodity code cannot be used to replace the goods description.
- The commodity code defines, among other things, the restrictions on the goods. That’s why it’s important to use the right commodity code.
- The commodity codes can be retrieved from Commodity code service Fintaric. Customs can also help you.
This is how you clear the goods to be stored
- Get the IDs and permits needed to submit a declaration
- If you buy the storage service from another company, the service provider must have the appropriate permits.
- If you submit declarations concerning storage to Customs in Customs’ online service, you must submit them as an identified user.
- You need an EORI number for submitting declarations. If your company does not have one, you can obtain it from Customs.
- If you want to submit declarations directly from your company’s system with messages, apply for the authorisation for message exchange.
- Customs must be notified when goods are placed in storage
- The freight carrier is responsible for notifying Customs of goods arrived. You get an MRN number and possible consignment numbers from the freight carrier. You need these numbers to submit a declaration.
- If you have decided to use temporary storage, you can use either transit declarations or entry declarations to initiate it. Entry declarations for temporary storage can be submitted electronically in Customs’ online service or with messages.
- If you have decided to use customs warehousing, you can submit the customs warehousing declaration yourself or have a representative submit it for you. The declarations are submitted electronically in Customs’ online service or with messages.
- You can find the codes to be used in the declarations in the user interface of the online service and the message implementing guidelines.
- Warehousing must be discharged through the customs clearance procedure
- The goods can only be removed from storage with a customs-approved declaration. If you are a warehouse keeper, remember that you have to make sure that the goods remain under customs supervision, i.e. they remain in the warehouse and can be found in the accounts.
- Goods in a temporary storage facility have to be cleared through customs within 90 days after being placed in storage. The warehouse keeper may request that the customs clearance is done sooner, though. If the goods are stored temporarily in a Customs-approved location, the goods must be cleared within one day. You can check the deadline with the warehouse keeper.
- Customs inspects the warehouse operations and accounts. If the goods disappear while being stored or when moved into storage, the warehouse keeper is responsible for the taxes.
- What if something has to be repaired or the transport is cancelled?
- If discrepancies are detected in the quantity or quality of the goods between the unloaded goods and the customs declaration, Customs must be notified of it. The actual quantity that arrived is always entered in the records.
- If the goods arrive at a temporary storage facility, any discrepancies are indicated in the unloading report.
- If the goods arrive at a customs warehouse and no customs warehousing declaration has yet been submitted for them, any discrepancies are indicated in the unloading report for transit.
- A customs warehousing declaration can be amended up until Customs releases the goods for the customs warehousing procedure. The actual quantity that arrived is entered in the records.
- If Customs has already released the goods for the procedure, the customs declaration must be amended after release.
- When goods are removed from the warehouse, the customs declaration can be amended until Customs places the goods under the procedure. If the transport of the goods is cancelled for some reason and the goods remain in the warehouse, the customs declaration must be invalidated.
- If the goods have been placed under a transit procedure and the transport is interrupted, the transit can be discharged to the same warehouse and the goods can be entered in the records as new goods. A new customs declaration must be submitted for goods returned to the customs warehouse.
You need a customs authorisation when you store goods without clearing them through customs. Read more: Customs authorisations.
If you store goods, for which customs duties have been paid but no other taxes, for instance, excise duty or value added tax, you need an authorisation from the Tax Administration.
Depending on the goods, you have to get approval or licenses from other authorities in addition to a customs authorisation, if you store goods that require special conditions, for example, medicines or dangerous goods. The warehouse keeper is responsible for making sure you have all the required licenses and authorisations.
The licensing authorities in Finland are e.g. Evira, FIMEA, the Regional State Administrative Agencies, Valvira, Ministry of Defence, SYKE and the rescue authorities. Check what you have to communicate to other authorities, or what kind of licenses you need for storing goods. For example, to store cigarettes you need a license from Valvira in addition to the customs authorisation. There are also other regulations regarding the sale of cigarettes and alcohol. More information can be found on the websites of the Regional State Administrative Agencies and Valvira.
- Pelastustoimi.fi: Storing dangerous substances (in Finnish)
- Fimea: Medicines and medicinal substances
- The Finnish Environment Institute SYKE: waste, chemicals, endangered species
- Regional State Administrative Agencies: Alcohol, tobacco, foodstuffs
- Valvira: Manufacturing tobacco and alcohol, import, sales and storage
You can apply for a customs warehousing authorisation, when
- your company is located within the European Union
- your company has a Finnish Business ID
- Customs has granted you authorisation for comprehensive guarantee and you have a valid guarantee for warehousing
- you have a storage facility suitable for storing uncleared goods or another place of storage and accounting records, which Customs can accept as accounting for uncleared goods.
Read more: How do I apply for a warehousing authorisation?
The choice of warehousing type (temporary storage or customs warehousing) depends e.g. on how long you need to store the goods for, and on the possible need to process the goods during storage. If the goods are stored for less than 90 days at the point of entry, then temporary storage is enough. If the goods need to be stored for a longer period of time or the goods are to be repackaged, you need a customs warehousing authorisation.
Which type of warehouse to choose, mainly depends on what can be done to the goods in the warehouse and what kind of responsibilities you have as warehouse keeper, i.e. holder of the authorisation.
Even if you store uncleared goods in your own facilities, you don’t need to own them. However, regarding most authorisations you are responsible for the goods during storage. You can also buy the service, for example from a forwarding agency. On the Customs website, you can search for information regarding companies that have a customs warehousing authorisation.
- Private customs warehouse
- Public customs warehouse (type I and II)
- Temporary storage
- Responsibilities of warehouse keepers
- Goods processing possibilities
The costs associated with storing uncleared goods are different to the costs of other warehousing procedures.
- Customs requires that you lodge a guarantee, which is calculated based on the amount of taxes that will possibly be levied on the stored goods. The guarantee is determined according to separate principles and is between 0 – 100 % of the amount of taxes.
- If the goods are inspected or samples are taken, they are sometimes paid by the warehouse keeper.
- Customs usually charges for the visit to the warehouse, if the warehouse keeper wants Customs to visit. This is topical, for instance when goods are destroyed under Customs supervision.
- Now and then the customs inspections result in errors and insufficiencies being uncovered, then a penalty fee can be imposed or subsequent taxes can be recovered. If the goods have disappeared completely, but they have been entered into the warehouse accounts, then the warehouse keeper is ultimately responsible for the taxes.
- Furthermore, the warehouse keeper pays the costs for maintaining the operation. These costs are generated e.g. for system upkeep and updates in accordance with customs’ requirements as well as keeping the accounts and documents up-to-date.