Responsibilities, obligations and rights of warehouse keepers
What am I responsible for as a warehouse keeper?
Your responsibilities are based on whether you have an authorisation for temporary storage or for customs warehousing. A holder of an authorisation for temporary storage is responsible for everything regarding the warehousing. The responsibilities in customs warehousing are divided between the holder of the authorisation and the holder of the procedure.
- The holder of the authorisation is responsible for making sure that the goods remain in the warehouse (under customs supervision) and are not released for free circulation without Customs’ consent.
- As a holder of the authorisation, you must clarify to Customs any possible vagueness appearing in the records. When goods are released from the warehouse, the holder of the authorisation is also responsible for inspecting that the information in the release document corresponds to the information in the consignment. In practice, this means for instance that the information regarding the previous procedure has been declared correctly in the release document. This can be for example, the code, MRN and goods item number.
- The obligation to keep records is defined according to which type of warehouse is in question. If you are responsible for keeping records, you make sure that the entries in the records have been done correctly, the records are appropriate and up-to-date and the receipts have been archived correctly.
- You are responsible for delivering the required reports to Customs.
- You are responsible for making sure that the customs legislation, such as the time limits required by law, are observed in your warehouse.
- If the goods disappear during warehousing or the audit trail is broken in the warehouse records, you are responsible for paying the customs duties, VAT and other possible taxes and costs for the goods.
- If you store your own or your customer’s goods and always complete all the customs formalities, such as submitting the customs declarations and doing all the paperwork concerning the goods in your name on behalf of the customer, then you are also responsible for matters related to the role as holder of the procedure.
- In customs warehousing, the holder of the procedure is responsible for making sure that the customs declaration, with which the goods are place under the customs warehousing procedure, contains all information and that it is correct.
Points to consider
If you like, you can carry out the record keeping and the archiving of documents electronically. You can receive goods into the temporary storage facility by submitting the unloading report electronically to Customs, if you have the required authorisations.
Goods in a temporary storage facility can only be handled to maintain their condition. Customs can inspect goods in a temporary storage facility and take samples for consumer protection controls. The holder of the goods can with Customs permission inspect the goods and take samples.
Goods stored in a customs warehouse can be handled to ensure that they are preserved, to improve their appearance or marketable quality or to prepare them for distribution or resale. These so called normal ways of handling goods have been defined by law. In practice, this can for example mean re-packaging clothes into sales collections.
If the handling cannot take place in the warehouse facility, the goods can, with Customs permission, be moved out of the warehouse for handling. If the nature or characteristics of the goods change, they have to be placed under the inward processing procedure.
If the goods in your warehouse is spoiled or for some reason becomes unsellable during storage, the goods can be destroyed under customs supervision. Contact Customs when you notice that such goods are stored in the warehouse. If you personally destroy goods from the warehouse without informing Customs, you must clear the goods through customs at full value.
If you notice that goods have disappeared from your warehouse, inform Customs immediately of this to avoid unpleasant post-clearance recoveries. When you personally inform Customs that goods have disappeared, you can clear the good yourself and penalty fees or duty increases are generally not imposed when clearing the goods.
If you are a temporary storage keeper, you are responsible for informing Customs about undeclared goods that have been in storage for more than 90 days.
Customs has different ways of following undeclared goods and the operations of companies which use warehouses. When you apply for a warehousing authorisation Customs checks that the warehousing facility and the records satisfy the requirements laid down in the legislation. It is the duty of Customs to monitor the continuous compliance with the customs regulations.
When your warehouse is in use, Customs inspects e.g. the warehouse records. The inspection can also be aimed at the stored goods. These inspections are carried out smoothly when you actively participate during the inspection, and during a possible investigation into the matter at a later stage.
If your storage facility contains goods that are never retrieved by your customer, you are still responsible for storing the undeclared goods. If you need to get rid of the goods, the alternatives Customs provides are:
- placing the goods under a customs procedure
- abandonment to the State and
- selling at a customs auction.
As storage keeper you are responsible for all costs that incur in these situations. You can take this into account while you enter into agreements with customers.