The UCC Delegated Act has been amended by Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/1063. We are highlighting the most important changes in a series of articles. In this article we will focus on changes concerning the time-limit for taking decisions on repayment or remissions.
In general, amounts of import duty shall be repaid or remitted on any of the following grounds:
- overcharged amounts of import duty;
- defective goods or goods not complying with the terms of the contract;
- error by the competent authorities;
Before the amendment was introduced in the UCC DA, the legal text was already taking into consideration the situation where the customs authorities consider accepting a repayment or remission when the third and fourth case (an error by the competent authorities or equity) occur. In this case the EU Member State concerned shall transmit the file to the European Commission for decision:
- where the customs authorities consider that the special circumstances are the result of the Commission failing in its obligations;
- where the customs authorities consider that the Commission committed an error as the competent authority;
- where the circumstances of the case relate to the findings of a Union investigation carried out to ensure the correct application of the law on customs and agricultural matters, or under any other Union legislation or any agreement concluded by the Union with countries or groups of countries providing for such Union investigations;
- where the amount for which the person concerned may be liable in respect of one or more import or export operations equals or exceeds EUR 500 000 because of an error or special circumstances.
There is also the case, where the files should not be transmitted by the EU Member States to the Commission if this last one has already adopted or is already considering adopting a decision on a case involving comparable issues.
In both cases the time-limit for taking the decision on repayment or remission shall be suspended until the Member State concerned has received the notification of the Commission's decision on the case involving comparable issues.
The amendment to the UCC Delegated Act has now taken into consideration two additional situations: when the decision to be taken depends on the outcome of a case involving identical or comparable questions pending before the EU Court of Justice, and when the decision depends on specific pending administrative procedures which may affect that decision. The administrative procedures considered in this situation are the ones related to a request for subsequent verification of the proof of preferential origin made in the framework of the Generalised System of Preferences, of the EU unilateral preferential regimes and of the free trade agreements, and the consultation procedure aimed to ensure at the EU level the correct and uniform tariff classification or determination of origin of the goods.
The amendment to the UCC Delegated Act has extended the time-limit for taking decisions on repayment or remission, in these two situations, where it is not possible for the competent customs authority to complete an assessment and take a decision on repayment or remission in the due time.
Moreover, to ensure that the extension of the period to decide does not adversely affect the applicant, the amendment to the UCC Delegated Act has further clarified that the extension should be possible only if the applicant does not oppose to it and should be clearly limited to the above mentioned specific situations.