What guarantees are required?

A guarantee that corresponds to the amount of customs duties and taxes is required for transit. The guarantee covers the general customs duty, possible excise duty and other taxes as well as value added tax (VAT). The amount of guarantee is roughly about 30 % of the value of the goods. A comprehensive guarantee, which requires an authorisation, can also be used as a guarantee. Transit requires a separate comprehensive guarantee, because the transit guarantee requires a bank guarantee. The holder of the procedure must provide the amount of customs duties and taxes to be reserved from the guarantee reference amount with the transit declaration.

The transit declaration shall indicate the amount to be covered by the guarantee

The amount to be covered must be entered in transit declarations. The amount to be covered means the amount of guarantee reserved calculated by the holder of the procedure, i.e. the amount of customs duties and taxes of the goods to be transited. The amount entered must correspond to the actual customs duty and tax liabilities for the goods to be transited or to the amount of customs duty or taxes calculated based on the value of similar goods. 

When the transit declaration is submitted in the Customs Clearance Service, the service estimates the amount to be covered automatically based on the commodity code data and quantity you have provided. The estimate is calculated according to the highest possible customs duty rate for the goods category. You can use this estimate as a guide, when you enter the amount to be covered.

Exceptional situation where the amount to be covered can be entered as 10 000 euros

Exceptionally, Customs allows that the amount to be covered is entered as 10 000 euros, if all the following conditions are met:

  • The amount to be covered cannot be estimated based on the value of the goods, because the value data is not available and estimating the amount to be covered is not possible with a reasonable work effort.
  • The consignment to be transited arrived in air traffic.
  • The consignment is transited between two airports or within one airport.

If the principal applies this simplified estimate of the amount to be covered, the additional information code ‘FILEN’ must be entered in the transit declaration. The customer’s own management system for transport data must also show the additional information code.

Calculation of the transit guarantee

On the page Average prices for import, Customs will regularly publish the average prices of import products for various commodity codes. You can check the average price of similar goods in the table with average prices and calculate the required guarantee based on that price. The average prices are published as an Excel table, and the prices are based on the previous 12-month period. The tables cannot be downloaded in XML format. 

You can also use the Fintaric calculation tool in estimating the amount of taxes and customs duties. On the start page of Fintaric, select “Calculation” and then “Transit” as the procedure. Select the current date as the date and provide the commodity code. As country, select the country of origin of the goods. The tool always provides the estimates according to the highest possible customs duty rate applicable to the country and goods category based on current information. You can leave the customs value blank and only provide the net weight in kilograms, in which case the tool will use Customs’ average price table for the goods value. To conclude, select the VAT rate, and the tool will estimate the amount of customs duty and taxes according to the average price. For goods subject to excise duty, you must also provide the required excise duty codes (e.g. excise duty on alcoholic beverages, beverage containers and soft drinks) and the additional information required by these.
These tools provided by Customs can also be used when monitoring the reference amount for the guarantee.

Using a cash deposit as transit guarantee

The guarantee can be lodged as a cash deposit. The guarantee is transit specific and is loged by the transit principal at the customs office of departure. The customs office of departure repays or releases the guarantee after receiving a notification of the arrival of the goods at the customs office of destination.

Setting up a transit guarantee at the customs office

The transit guarantee can be paid in cash, by bank card or with a bank transfer. Using a bank transfer is uncommon, since a transit operation cannot be started until the payment shows in the customs system. The transit principal must sign a pledge agreement at the customs office of departure. If the signatory is not the transit principal, then they must provide a power of attorney from the principal.

Setting up a guarantee in advance

An individual guarantee can be set up in advance, before the goods are presented to Customs. The customs office provides a GRN reference number for the guarantee; this number is then registered in the transit declaration. The original pledge agreement will not have to be presented at the office of departure.

Repayment of the guarantee

A cash deposit is repaid at the office of departure or into a bank account, when the transit is discharged. Customs can also return the deposit, for example at the eastern border of Finland when the goods leave the transit area. The guarantee is returned by the authority in the country that received the guarantee. The guarantee is mainly repaid into the transit principal’s bank account. An IBAN bank account number is required for the payment and, for foreign bank accounts, an ISO BIC code (SWIFT code).

Cash-repayment at the office of destination

If the customer does not have an IBAN account number, the guarantee can be repaid in cash at the customs office of destination. An individual guarantee will only be returned in cash to the person who signed the pledge agreement, to someone with official powers of procuration or to a person mentioned especially as the receiver in the power of attorney.

Using comprehensive transit guarantee

The company can apply for an authorisation from Customs to use a comprehensive guarantee. Using a comprehensive guarantee facilitates and simplifies the starting of the transit operation. It is also required if you want to act as an authorised consignor.