Frequently asked questions
Please visit the website of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The blending of electronic learning with other forms of learning is becoming well established within customs and taxation training across the European Union. The European Commission develops eLearning courses on topics of common interest in collaboration with Customs and Tax Administrations and representatives of trade.
Because Holland offers a highly competitive fiscal climate (source: Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), May 2011 version).
The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration published an interactive overview of EU customs processes called 'From entering to exiting'.
The export of strategic goods is subject to control. Strategic goods are military goods and so-called 'dual-use' items, the latter being items that may have both civilian and military use. Security objectives and international agreements on strategic goods require measures prohibiting by law the export of most of such goods without a license. In some cases the import (of certain chemical substances), transit and brokering (of military goods) are also subject to control.
On the website of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation information is provided on the Dutch export policy concerning strategic goods. Most of this can be found in an unnoficial English translation of the Manual on Strategic Goods (August 2011 version). It gives an overview of laws and regulations guiding the export, and in some cases the import, transit, and brokering of strategic goods.
Digital application process ('messagebox')
Please note, as of January 1, 2012, it is possible to digitally apply for export licenses or to submit a report. The current forms expire. From the end of 2011, you can download the new forms (in the Dutch language only) on the website of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. You can submit the forms digitally at answersforbusiness.nl/messagebox. This is a protected email system for the exchange of messages with Dutch government agencies. It is already possible to create an account for the 'messagebox'.
Do you want tot submit your application or report on paper? Then you have to print the new form, complete it, sign it and send it to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administation/Centrale Dienst voor In- en Uitvoer (CDIU), P.O. Box 30003, NL-9700 RD Groningen, the Netherlands.
Most customs duties and value added tax (VAT) are expressed as a percentage of the value of goods being declared for importation. Thus, it is necessary to dispose of a standard set of rules for establishing the goods' value, which will then serve for calculating the customs duty.
The European Union applies an internationally accepted concept of 'customs value'.
The source of customs valuation legislation comes from the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement ("the Agreement"), as a result of its Article VII. The Agreement has been published in English, French and Spanish.
However, the WTO Agreement has to be integrated into the national customs legislation of each of the WTO members. In the case of the EU, this transposition is in the form of the Community Customs Code and its Implementing Provisions (and guidelines).
The value of imported goods is one of the three 'elements of taxation' that provides the basis for assessment of the customs debt, which is the technical term for the amount of duty that has to be paid, the other ones being the origin of the goods and the customs tariff.
Consignment or call-off stock
The difficulties regarding consignment or call-off stock (i.e. the transfer of own goods) may vary in the different member states of the European Union (EU).
In general, these kind of stock transfers qualify as so-called deemed (or fictitious) intra-EU supplies from one EU member state to another EU member state, whereas the ownership of the goods at the time of this transfer in fact stays with the supplier of said goods. From a VAT point of view, this means that the supplier of goods performs a (VAT zero rated) intra-EU supply from one EU member state (e.g. the Netherlands), followed by a VAT taxable intra-EU acquisition in the EU member state of destination, for which – in principal – a VAT registration (or the appointment of fiscal representative who is registered for VAT in the country of arrival) is required.
Subsequently, the supplier of the goods performs a VAT taxable domestic or inland supply (for which in some cases a reverse charge rule applies) at the time the goods are sold/called off (change of ownership).
The transfer of goods within the same legal entity from one member state to another is deemed to be a supply. The place of supply follows the normal rules for intra-EU movements of goods.
An example of a transfer of own goods is, for instance, the movement of consignment or call-off stocks. This is the term used to describe goods transferred from one member state to another to create a stock from which supplies may be made periodically as required. There is an initial deemed supply of own goods to form the stock which takes place in the member state from which the goods are originally dispatched (e.g. the Netherlands). The place of subsequent supplies of the goods, once a buyer has been found, is normally the member state in which the stock is held.
In a (small) number of EU member states simplification measures have been taken into account to avoid foreign owners of goods held in 'call-off' having to register in those member states.
The treatment of goods used for call-off stock and consignment stock in another EU member state, however, is often confused and is perhaps best explained by understanding the associated VAT consequences.
Call-off stock is the description given to the transfer of goods (by a VAT registered business) from one EU member state to another to create a stock of goods from which their customer can 'call-off' (i.e. use and pay for) the goods as and when they require them.
Call-off goods delivered to storage facilities operated by the supplier, rather than the customer, should be treated as consignment stocks (see below), unless the customer is aware of the details of deliveries into storage. If the customer is aware of the details of deliveries into storage, the intra-EU movement can be treated as call-off stock. If stocks of goods are dispatched by a supplier for call-off by more than one customer, this - in principal - does not qualify for treatment as call-off stock (see consignment stock).
Consignment stocks are created when a VAT registered business transfers its own goods to another EU member state to create a stock over which it has control and from which it makes supplies, or supplies are made on its behalf in that member state.
Because the business is effectively transferring its own goods to itself in another member state it will be making an acquisition of goods in the other member states. The business will be liable to account for acquisition tax in the other member state and may be liable to register for VAT there.
Distance selling in the European Union (EU) occurs when a supplier sells goods from one member state (e.g. the Netherlands) to a person who is not registered for VAT purposes (private individual) in another member state and the supplier is responsible for the delivery of the goods. It includes mail order sales, phone or telesales or physical goods ordered over the Internet.
Sales of goods ordered via the Internet but physically supplied are considered to be distance sales for VAT purposes.
Under the so-called distance selling arrangements, sales to customers in other EU member states who are not registered for VAT are liable to VAT in the member state of the supplier (e.g. the Netherlands) provided that the threshold appropriate to the member state of the end customer is not breached. Where sales exceed the threshold in any particular member state, the supplier must register and account for VAT in that member state.
Distance selling of goods from the Netherlands
A supplier who makes distance sales from the Netherlands to customers in other member states who are not registered for VAT, is liable to Dutch VAT at the applicable VAT rates on such sales until the value of the sales reaches the threshold applying in that other member state. Once the value of the supplier’s sales exceeds the threshold in the other member state, the supplier is obliged to register in that member state and account for VAT at the rates applicable there. If the appropriate threshold is not exceeded, the supplier may, nevertheless, opt to account for VAT in the member state to which the distance sales are made.
Under the EU VAT arrangements, member states were required to adopt a distance sales threshold of either EUR 35,000 or EUR 100,000. The particular member states have opted for these thresholds.
Again, please note that a supplier who is engaged in distance sales to several member states is required to register for VAT in each member state in which the value of the distance sales exceeds the appropriate threshold.
If a foreign supplier is obliged to register for VAT in another member state because the value of her distance sales to that member state exceeds the relevant threshold, the tax authorities of the member state(s) concerned should be contacted to provide details of the (formal) requirements for registration. For foreign (non-EU) entrepreneurs most often fiscal representation will be required in the member state of arrival.
Please refer to the list of VAT rates applied in the Member States of the European Union (July 2011 version) as published by the European Commission (Taxation and Customs Union).