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Transit guarantees

Transit requires providing a guarantee to Customs that corresponds to the amount of customs duties and taxes due for the goods to be transported. The guarantee covers the general customs duty, possible excise duties and other taxes as well as VAT. The amount of guarantee must be calculated by you and entered in the transit declaration

You can provide the guarantee as 

  • an individual guarantee for one transit operation 
  • a comprehensive guarantee, which is a long-term guarantee that covers several transit operations 

A comprehensive guarantee should be obtained if you transit often, because it facilitates the starting of a transit procedure. You need permission from Customs to use a comprehensive guarantee.

An individual guarantee covers one transit operation. The transit can be started as soon as the payment shows in Customs’ system. 

When and how is the individual guarantee lodged? 

You must lodge the individual guarantee at the customs office of departure when you present the goods. You can pay the transit guarantee in cash, by bankcard or with a bank transfer. Using a bank transfer is unusual, since a transit operation cannot be started until the payment shows in the customs system. You get a pledge agreement as a receipt for the guarantee.

You can also lodge the individual guarantee in advance before you present the goods to Customs. You can do this by contacting the office of guarantee. Customs’ office of guarantee gives the guarantee a reference number (GRN), which need to be entered in the transit declaration. You do not have to present the original pledge agreement at the office of departure.

Validity of the individual guarantee

When needed, the individual guarantee of the transit is valid in countries, which can be EU countries or common transit countries.

Repayment of the individual guarantee 

When the transit procedure has ended, Customs repays the guarantee.

The customs office of departure repays or releases the guarantee lodged by means of a bank guarantee after receiving a notification of the arrival of the goods at the customs office of destination.

A cash deposit is repaid at the office of departure or into a bank account, when the transit has been 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).

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 the right to sign for the company or to a person mentioned separately as the recipient in the power of attorney.

The comprehensive guarantee is long-term and covers several transits. 

To use this guarantee, you need a comprehensive guarantee authorisation. It should be obtained if you transit goods often, because it simplifies the starting of a transit procedure. You also need a comprehensive guarantee if you wish to act as an authorised consignor.

A bank guarantee must be provided for the comprehensive guarantee for transit, unless the company is exempted from providing a guarantee. 

Comprehensive guarantee in the customs declaration

When a comprehensive guarantee is used for the transit, the GRN of the comprehensive guarantee and the related access code must be provided in the transit declaration. The Customs guarantee system reserves from the company the amount of taxes for the goods to be covered by the guarantee when the transit operation starts. The reserved guarantee is released for subsequent use, when the transited goods are received at the destination, and an arrival notification has been submitted for them in the customs system.

Monitor the adequacy of the comprehensive guarantee 

When you have acquired the comprehensive guarantee authorisation, you must monitor the adequacy of the guarantee yourself. 

  • Keep your own records.
  • As support for you records, you can use guarantee query messages if you are a message declarant. You must have a registration for message exchange, which also includes the guarantee query message. 

Validity of the comprehensive guarantee

The comprehensive guarantee must be valid in all EU countries. In addition, you can add common transit countries.

How to calculate the amount of guarantee

You can calculate the amount of transit guarantee by using the average prices for import or the Fintaric calculation tool. If the company has a comprehensive guarantee, you can use both also when you monitor the adequacy of the guarantee, i.e. the reference amount.

You can check the average prices of imported products under various commodity codes on the page Average prices for import. By checking the table for the average price of similar goods, you can calculate the guarantee needed.

You can also use the Fintaric calculation tool when estimating the amount of taxes and customs duties.

  1. On the start page of Fintaric, select “Calculation” and then “Transit” as the procedure.
  2. Select the current date as the date and provide the commodity code.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Finally, 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.

How to provide the guarantee in the transit declaration

The instructions concern both the individual guarantee and the comprehensive guarantee. 

The transit declaration has a field where you fill in the amount of customs duties and taxes covered by the guarantee. The amount to be covered means the amount of reserved guarantee calculated by the holder of the procedure, i.e. the amount of customs duties and taxes on 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 information and the 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.

You can enter 10 000 euros as the amount to be covered 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 information 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 transit 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.

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