Customs Duties

Customs valuation

The customs value is the basis of assessment for customs. Therefore, the customs value
determination can directly influence the customs duty to be paid. Certain costs must be added to the
transaction value (usually the purchase price) in accordance with Art. 71 of the Union Customs Code,
for example, part of the transport costs. On the other hand, there are costs that are not part of the
customs value according to Art. 72 of the Union Customs Code.
The correct customs valuation is, on the one hand, the basis for not paying too much customs duty
and, on the other hand, the prerequisite for ensuring that your customs declarations are legally
We advise and support you in determining the customs value and make suggestions as to how you
can positively influence the subsequent customs value determination as early as the contract drafting


The second basis of calculation for customs besides the customs valuation is the correct tariff
classification. Classification is the correct classification of your goods in the Combined Nomenclature.
It decides on the application of the correct customs tariff, if necessary the application of punitive or
anti-dumping duties as well as other trade policy measures, e.g. certain prohibitions and restrictions.

The correct tariff classification ensures that, on the one hand, no customs tariff is applied that is too
high and, on the other hand, customs declarations are correct and additional payments as well as
administrative fine proceedings and criminal proceedings are avoided.

We advise and support you in the correct tariff classification and give you valuable advice on how you
can positively influence the subsequent tariff classification already at the conception stage of goods

Origin of goods and preferential rights

Germany has concluded preferential and free trade agreements with numerous countries. If the
correct evidence that goods have their preferential origin in a particular country can be presented or
held, these goods can be imported at a reduced rate of duty or even duty-free. Many companies shy
away from applying preferential rules because the correct determination of the origin of goods is
complicated and subject to constant change, for example due to changes in purchasing behaviour or
amendments to agreements. In this context, setting up a preference calculation offers the possibility of
significantly reducing customs charges and thus significantly improving margins. A preference
calculation should be embedded in the Internal Control System and be subject to regular monitoring.

On the export side, by presenting the correct proof of origin, you may be able to offer your customers
the opportunity to import your goods at a reduced rate of duty or duty-free, thus generating a
competitive advantage.

In addition to preferential origin, non-preferential origin must also be considered. The non-preferential
origin of goods determines whether additional penal duties have to be paid on the importation of
goods, other anti-dumping measures apply (for example quotas) or certain prohibitions and restrictions

We prepare or review your preference calculations and organisational instructions and advise you on
any questions that may arise.

Applying for customs simplifications

Importers and exporters can only work efficiently and meet short-term delivery deadlines if they make
use of customs simplifications. These include, for example

  • Simplified customs declarations in accordance with Art. 166 of the Union Customs Code
  • Entry in the accounts according to Art. 182 of the Union Customs Code
  • Centralised customs clearance according to Art. 179 of the Union Customs Code

In order to be granted customs simplifications, companies must fulfil the following requirements, among others:

  • no serious or repeated infringements of customs and tax regulations
  • no serious criminal offences in the course of economic activity
  • adequate procedures for processing licences and authorisations related to prohibitions and restrictions (including commercial policy measures) and for ensuring compliance with prohibitions and restrictions
  • Raising awareness among staff

We advise and support you in applying for the necessary permits, work with you to develop organisational instructions and, if requested, conduct staff training.

Application for customs authorisations, for example customs warehouses, inward processing, outward processing, etc.

Customs procedures such as customs warehouses, inward processing or outward processing are important components of the supply chain. With these customs procedures, import duties can be avoided or payment can be postponed.

We advise and support you in applying for and maintaining these authorisations.

Cross-border VAT

Companies that do not maintain a permanent establishment in Germany for income tax purposes, but do have a warehouse or import the goods themselves into Germany, must generally register for VAT purposes in Germany. If you wish, we can take care of this registration, the preparation and transmission of advance VAT returns, annual VAT returns, recapitulative statements and Intrastat returns.

The import and export of goods are closely linked to VAT. However, the two areas of law are not coordinated. We advise you on all VAT issues that arise.

Fiscal representation

Foreign companies without a permanent establishment in Germany that only carry out turnover exempt from VAT in Germany must nevertheless fulfil certain tax obligations, for example the submission of advance turnover tax returns and recapitulative statements. You can appoint us as your fiscal representative in Germany, in which case we will take over these obligations for you.

Advice and support in applying for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status

The authorisation of the various customs simplifications and procedures is partly subject to the same requirements. Holders of an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) authorisation are generally deemed to have fulfilled certain criteria and requirements. Individual licences even require the status of AEO. For companies that are regularly active in the import and export business, it is therefore a good idea to apply for and maintain the status as AEO. 

The status can be granted in three variants:

  • AEO authorisation “customs simplifications” (AEO C)
  • AEO authorisation “Security and Safety” (AEO S)
  • AEO authorisation “Customs Simplifications and Security” (AEO C and AEO S) (so-called combined authorisation)

The AEO C is basically indispensable as a basis for customs simplifications. The AEO S is necessary to secure the continuous international supply chain from the manufacturer of a good to the end consumer. The AEO status is already recognised by a number of third countries: Switzerland, Norway, Japan, the USA and China.

However, authorisation and maintenance are subject to strict conditions. 


  • advise and support you in applying for AEO status
  • draw up the necessary self-assessment together with you
  • work with you to analyse and optimise the relevant processes in your company
  • work with you to draw up the necessary organisational instructions
  • and implement or adapt the necessary internal control system (ICS).

AEO status is a seal of quality for your company, facilitates or enables access to customs simplifications and procedures and gives you the opportunity to analyse and optimise company processes and introduce lean but effective controls.

Customs Compliance

In companies, compliance with customs regulations is usually the responsibility of the customs officer. Nevertheless, the managing directors or the board of directors always remain responsible for compliance with and monitoring of customs-related regulations. According to the German Administrative Offences Act (OWIG), the management is responsible for organising and monitoring structures and processes in such a way that the company does not commit any infringements of the law. If the organisational and supervisory duties are not fulfilled by the management, the managing directors must personally expect administrative offence proceedings in case of violations of the law.

Errors in customs processing can lead to high additional payments as well as the suspension or even revocation of permits. This leads to high administrative costs, delays in delivery, high financial losses and can endanger entire business models.

We support you in setting up or adapting your internal control system. If you have implemented and documented an appropriate internal control system and the employees entrusted with customs clearance are sufficiently trained and sensitised, the customs administration will forgive you errors in individual cases without serious consequences.

Customs audits: Preparation, support, safeguarding your rights

The requirements for companies that export or import are high and increase with every customs authorisation. The highest requirements are placed on Authorised Economic Operators (AEO), but at the same time they are also granted the greatest facilitations. They need a clear organisation, well-trained staff and must continuously monitor compliance with the criteria. We support you during customs audits and defend against unjustified claims by the customs administration.

Market regulation law: Questions regarding the import and export of agricultural products

Agricultural products are subject to the European Union’s market organisation law. The European Union controls the supply of agricultural products in the EC with the help of a complicated licensing system.  In most cases, you need an import licence or an export licence to import or export agricultural goods. 

We check for you whether you need a licence for the import or export of the goods, support you in applying for the necessary licences and determine which customs rates you have to calculate with for the import.