The EU (including Germany) is an economic area for which uniform rules apply for protection. Freight traffic also at Chinese imports is basically free, but there are regulations that must be observed when importing from China. These rules apply in principle to all goods traffic from non-EU countries, goods traffic between EU countries or within the Federal Republic of Germany are not referred to here as imports, as this is also treated very differently from a legal point of view.
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The so-called EORI number is required for import into the EU. This must be applied for at the customs authorities. You can find more information on the EORI number at www.zoll.de.
There is a so-called TARIC code for import duties. With the Taric Code in combination with the country of origin of the goods (e.g. China), the respective customs duty results as a percentage of the value of the goods. In addition to the “normal” import duty, there are also anti-dumping duties (e.g. B. with bicycles or porcelain when we Chinese imports stay). However, the customs duties apply throughout the EU, so it doesn’t matter whether you ship the goods e.g. B. via the port of Hamburg or the port of Rotterdam. In the case of agricultural goods, there are also agricultural tariffs.
In some cases, there are still customs preferences that can be claimed for certain countries of origin when the certificate of origin is presented. B. in clothing from Bangladesh, so that the actual duties are much lower to import from z. B. to promote developing countries.
The import sales tax also applies to every import, this corresponds to the sales tax with a standard rate of 19% (as of May 29th, 2016). Thus, sales tax is always incurred as an expense, regardless of whether the goods are purchased domestically or in a third country. However, the sales tax is only a transitory item for the entrepreneur if he is entitled to deduct sales tax, so that the sales tax represents a claim against the tax authorities for him.
For certain goods there are additional taxes that can be levied directly upon importation, including coffee tax, alcohol tax and cigarette tax.
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The following documents are required for the customs declaration:
1 import customs declaration & customs value declaration
There is an electronic form at www.internetzollanmeldung.de which should be submitted prior to importation. For express shipments (e.g. via DHL/Fedex/TNT), the express service providers will automatically submit the declarations on your behalf for a fee if you have not already submitted the declaration yourself. In the case of sea freight, this is usually done for you by the forwarding agent. If you are filling out a customs declaration for the first time, be sure to note the information sheet, which you can find in the online system.
As a rule, the customs value declaration must also be submitted for imports of goods over EUR 15,000 and is used to better check the customs value for the customs authorities. It is advisable to submit an application for binding customs information in advance (form 307), then the customs authorities are also bound to it for a certain period of time and you have more legal security when importing.
The import sales tax can be saved if necessary, we recommend submitting your own application for a deferment account. To do this, the applications must 0590 and 0580 must be completed and sent to the customs authorities.
2. Invoice (also Commercial Invoice) & description of goods
In order for the customs value to be determined, you always need an invoice, even for samples and gifts. The invoice must contain all customary information, the exact description of the goods, the quantity of goods (with Incoterms), and the country of the sender, the country of origin and the country of the recipient must also be evident from the invoice. It is still advisable to have the sender create a packing list so that the number of items, box composition, weight, etc. are clearly traceable. It is always advisable to submit an additional sheet with a detailed description of the goods. General information that can often be found on the invoice, such as “Electronics” or “Food” is not sufficient for the customs authorities to determine or check a customs value. More appropriate would be “dress for women, length 80cm, made of 30% cotton and 70% polyester with a weight per m2 of 100 grams and a total weight of 250 grams”.
3. Movement certificate or Form A
In order for a tariff preference to be asserted, a so-called Form A (certificate of origin) must be submitted. With China imports, however, there are only a few products for which tariff preferences are still possible.
4. Import Permit
Is required for products for which there are certain import restrictions or import controls. Normally, no import permit is necessary, for goods where this should be required, it is also expressly pointed out on the EZT-Online.
As an importer, the importer is usually notified by the carrier upon arrival of the goods. The documents must then be set up for the customs authorities at the latest. This can also be done by a representative (e.g. the forwarding agent itself or a customs agency) on behalf of the importer. As a rule, the import duties are then paid to the carrier (e.g. the forwarding agent or the express service) in advance or on account. However, it is also possible to apply to the customs authorities for a so-called sales tax deferral account or customs deferment account, in which case the information will be automatically withdrawn from the importer’s account on the 15th of the following month.
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It is important to note that shipments from the port and the customs authorities are considered separately for each sender, ie the costs for customs clearance and port fees are incurred for each shipment. If consignments remain at the port (e.g. due to missing documents or delays in customs clearance), significant additional fees will be charged from the third day in the port, which unfortunately a forwarding agent cannot influence.

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