Retroactive Refund for Preferential Origin

Financial Court Hamburg, judgement of 08 february 2016 – 4 K 131/14.

Summaries

1. Relevant point in time for checking the requirements of a refund of paid duties according to the customs code.

2. If a certificate of origin is declared null and void in a joint decision of the country of origin and the European Union, the goods are considered to be of unknown origin.

3. The proof of origin for goods which fall under the General scheme of Preferential Tariffs can only be furnished in accordance with the provisions of the regulation implementing the EU customs code.

Applicable Provision
Art. 236 Customs Code EU

1. Import duties or export duties shall be repaid in so far as it is established that when they were paid the amount of such duties was not legally owed or that the amount has been entered in the accounts contrary to Article 220 (2).

Import duties or export duties shall be remitted in so far as it is established that when they were entered in the accounts the amount of such duties was not legally owed or that the amount has been entered in the accounts contrary to Article 220 (2).

No repayment or remission shall be granted when the facts which led to the payment or entry in the accounts of an amount which was not legally owed are the result of deliberate action by the person concerned.

2. Import duties or export duties shall be repaid or remitted upon submission of an application to the appropriate customs office within a period of three years from the date on which the amount of those duties was communicated to the debtor.

That period shall be extended if the person concerned provides evidence that he was prevented from submitting his application within the said period as a result of unforeseeable circumstances or force majeure.

Where the customs authorities themselves discover within this period that one or other of the situations described in the first and second subparagraphs of paragraph 1 exists, they shall repay or remit on their own initiative.

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