Taxation and Customs Union

UCC - Legislation

UCC – Legal basis

The UCC legal package is composed of the following legal acts:

The Union Customs Code

A consolidated version of the Union Customs Code (UCC) can be found here.

The UCC was adopted on 9 October 2013 as Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

It entered into force on 30 October 2013 although most of its substantive provisions apply from 1 May 2016.

The UCC was amended by Regulation (EU) 2016/2339, which modified Article 136 of it on goods that have temporarily left the customs territory of the Union by sea or air.

The UCC was also amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/474, which introduced some technical amendments in Articles 34, 124, 126, 129, 139, 146, 272 and 275 UCC. It also introduced a new Article 260a to provide relief from import duties on goods repaired or altered in the context of international agreements. In addition, this amendment includes a provision that brought the Italian exclave of Campione d’Italia into the EU customs territory from 1 January 2020 and which is closely linked to Council Directive (EU) 2019/475 amending the VAT and Excise Directives. The Directive brings the Italian municipality within the scope of the EU excise territory but maintain its exclusion from the VAT regime to allow for the application of a local VAT rate there that corresponds to the Swiss VAT rate in order to ensure a level playing field for economic operators.

The UCC was also  amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/632 allowing customs authorities and economic operators to continue using transitional arrangements (i.e. existing IT systems or paper based arrangements) for the completion of a small number of customs formalities, until 2025 at the latest when new or upgraded IT systems for the completion of those formalities will be in place.

The UCC Delegated Act

A consolidated version of the UCC Delegated Act can be found here.

The UCC Delegated Act was adopted on 28 July 2015 as Commission Delegated Regulation No 2015/2446.

The UCC Delegated Act supplements certain non-essential elements of the UCC.

Since its adoption, the UCC Delegated Act has been modified six times, essentially to better implement the main rules established in the UCC and adjust them to the needs of economic operators and customs administrations:

  • Articles 2, 3, 104, 106, 112, 113, 128, 138, 141, 144, 146, 181 and 184 were amended and Articles 122a, 124, 124a, 126, 126a and 129a to 129d, were added by the UCC Transitional Delegated Act in order to include some transitional provisions, which will apply until the relevant IT systems are fully operational.
  • Articles 139 and 141 of the UCC Delegated Act have been corrected by a Commission Delegated Regulation.
  • Articles 1(19), 5(1), 10, 37(21), 40, 53, 55, 76, 82, 83, 97, 114, 115, 124a, 126a, 129a, 129d, 131, 133, 134, 136(1), 168, 189, 193, 195, 197 207 212, 215, 218, 220, 223, 228, 231-236 and Annexes A, B, B-04, B-05, 22-01, 71-05 and 90 were modified and Articles 7a, 177a and 197a were added by a Commission Delegated Regulation applicable from 31 July 2018. These included: a revised definition of "exporter"; an extension of the time limit for taking a decision on repayment or remission of customs duties; the introduction of some flexibilities in the customs formalities applicable in the case of transactions between a Special Fiscal Territory; and its mainland within the same Member State and making it possible for EU residents to import cars rented outside the EU for short periods such as holidays without paying import duties.
  • Article 84 was amended by a Commission Delegated Regulation applicable from 2 September 2018 so as to provide for more flexibility in relation to the criteria for a guarantee waiver or a guarantee reduction.
  • Article 141 was amended and Article 143a and column H7 of Annex B were added, in order to provide a new dataset for the declaration of certain low-value consignments from 1 January 2021, by a Commission Delegated Regulation.
  • A Commission Delegated Regulation applicable from 16 July 2020 amended Articles 1(15), 6(1), 13(4), 17(1), 76, 104, 106, 112, 113, 127, 128d(1), 138 to 142, 143a, 144, 146, 147, 163, 166, 167, 177, 220, 224, 227, 229, 230, 237, 245(1) and 248 and Annex 71-03 to 71-05; the same regulation also added Articles 1(46) to (53), 113a and 235a and Annex 52-01 and deleted Article 168. The changes concern new rules related to the waivers and time limits to lodge an entry summary declaration (ENS) and transitional provisions until the releases of the Import Control System 2 (ICS2) are deployed. In addition, the Regulation introduces a new definition for the intrinsic value as well as some transitional provisions for postal operators and Member States to enable the smooth implementation of the VAT e-commerce rules, and creates a new EU form 302 for the movement of goods in the context of military operations.

The UCC Implementing Act

A consolidated version of the UCC Implementing Act can be found here.

The UCC Implementing Act was adopted on 24 November 2015 as Commission Implementing Regulation No 2015/2447.

The UCC Implementing Act aims to ensure the existence of uniform conditions for the implementation of the UCC and a harmonized application of procedures by all Member States.

Since its adoption, the UCC Implementing Act has been modified four times:

  • by a Commission Implementing Regulation amending notably Articles 62, 68, 163 and 329(8) to make the rules to issue a long-term supplier’s declaration easier, to give exporters more time to get a REX number for CETA and to ensure that International Road Transport is better secured in financial terms. The amendment entered into force on 14 June 2017; and
  • by a Commission Implementing Regulation amending notably the procedural rules to facilitate the establishment of the preferential origin of goods. The amendment entered into force on 21 April 2018; and
  • by a Commission Implementing Regulation amending Articles 55, 187, 214, 234, 302, 311, 324, 329, 332, 333 and 340, mainly to expand the information that the will be collected under the EU Surveillance system on goods released for free circulation so that Member States can comply with new VAT rules for e-commerce and new rules to fight VAT fraud. The new Regulation also modifies some rules on the exit of goods from the customs territory of the Union. The amendment entered into force on 1 October 2019.
  • By a Commission Implementing Regulation amending notably the procedural rules to reflect the gradual deployment of ICS2 (Articles 182 to 189), to determine the competent customs office for the release for free circulation of certain low value consignments (Article 218, 220, 221) and to introduce some procedural rules for the use of EU/NATO form 302 for the movement of military goods (Article 207, 220a, 220b, 285, 286 and 287). The new rules entered into force on 20 July 2020.

To fulfil its task of implementing the act, the Commission is assisted by a Customs Code Committee (more information on the Committee can be found in the Comitology Register).

The UCC Transitional Delegated Act

A consolidated version of the UCC Transitional Delegated Act can be found here.

The UCC Transitional Delegated Act was adopted on 17 December 2015 as Commission Delegated Regulation No 2016/341.

The UCC Transitional Delegated Act establishes transitional rules for operators and customs authorities pending the upgrading or the development of the relevant IT systems to create a fully electronic customs environment.

Annex 12 of the UCC Transitional Delegated Act has been corrected by a Commission Delegated Regulation which was published in the Official Journal (L121) on 11 May 2016.

The UCC Work Programme

The current version of the UCC Work Programme was adopted on 13 December 2019 as Commission Implementing Decision No 2019/2151.

The UCC Work Programme relates to the development and deployment of the electronic systems provided for in the UCC and is closely linked to the UCC Transitional Delegated Act.

Implementing Act on technical arrangements relating to the UCC electronic systems

An Implementing Regulation on “Technical arrangements for developing, maintaining and employing electronic systems for the exchange of information and for the storage of such information under the UCC" lays down rules governing five of the 17 UCC electronic systems of the UCC Work Programme:

  • the Customs Decision System
  • the Uniform User Management and Digital Signature System
  • the European Binding Tariff Information system
  • the Economic Operator Registration and Identification system
  • the Authorised Economic Operator system

The Commission also uses its powers under the UCC to adopt implementing acts for specific or technical purposes, such as for the tariff classification of goods and for temporary derogations from the rules on preferential origin.