A customs declaration is an official document that lists and gives details of goods that are being imported or exported.
In legal terms, a customs declaration is the act whereby a person indicates the wish to place goods under a given customs procedure. This legal procedure is described in the Union Customs Code (UCC) (Articles 5 (12) and 158 to 187).
In general it is the owner of the goods or a person acting on his behalf (a representative).
The person having control over the goods may also perform it. These persons may be individuals or companies, as well as in certain cases associations of persons.
As a rule these persons should be established in the European Union.
The declaration should be lodged with the customs office where the goods were or will shortly be presented (Article 159(3) UCC).
In order to comply with the legal obligations and to place goods under a customs procedure, a customs declaration needs to be lodged.
This should happen in two cases:
Declarations shall be made using electronic data-processing techniques (Article 6 UCC)
Explanation supported by examples on data requirements are modelled in EUCDM Guidance Document.
Until the dates of the upgrading of the National Import Systems referred to in the Annex to Implementing Decision 2014/255/EU, where means other than electronic processing techniques are used for the customs procedures, the customs declarations shall be lodged using the forms provided for in Annex 9, Appendices B1-D1, as appropriate (Article 15 Transitional Delegated Act).
In specific cases, a customs declaration may be lodged using means other than electronic data-processing techniques:
Certain other acts may constitute a customs declaration (Article 141 UCC DA):
The UCC, Title V provides for the following customs simplifications:
Declarants are allowed to place goods under a customs procedure on the basis of a simplified declaration where either some particulars or some documents are missing at the time of lodging the customs declaration. For the non-regular use of the simplified declaration, no authorisation is required.
A customs declaration may be lodged at the customs office in the MS where the authorisation holder is established irrespectively of the fact that the goods are presented to customs in another MS (participating MS (PMS) – presentation customs office). For such purpose an Economic Operator has to be granted the Centralised Clearance authorisation.
The authorisation holder is allowed to lodge a customs declaration in the form of an entry into the declarant’s records provided that the particulars of that declaration are at the disposal of customs at the time of its lodgement. The entry into the declarant’s records could be either with presentation of goods or without presentation. For the later additional conditions have to be fulfilled.
This type of customs declaration is not allowed for all customs procedures (e.g. exclusion of transit).
This simplification allows for the drawing-up of a single customs declaration for goods falling under different tariff subheadings.
In such case, the import or export duty must be charged on the basis of the tariff subheading of the goods which are subject to the highest duty rate.
This allows Economic Operators to carry out certain customs formalities usually carried out by customs such as calculation of duties, and performing certain controls under customs supervision