Customs Code May Be Amended
The Duma has developed amendments to the Customs Code to simplify import and export rules. The proposed bill would change the payment schedule of customs fees, establish the joint and several liability of both customs brokers and consignees and determine the order of release of merchandise into circulation in cases of legal infringements. Importers and exporters have welcomed the deputies’ initiative and hope that in the process of further revision of the bill, some regulations will be developed in more detail.
Discussions on the need for revision began even before the code itself was passed. In October 2003, a government commission indicated that the text of the code contained many debatable points and acknowledged the need to make adjustments within a six-month period. The process was delayed due to difficulties in getting all departments involved to reach agreements, and the bill has been drafted only now.
Amendments in the third segment of the code – known as “Customs Fees” – were prepared by the members of the Duma’s Committee for Budget and Taxes. The draft has been approved by the Government and will be presented for the first reading at the end of February. The bill has been developed jointly by representatives of the Federal Tax Service along with importers and exporters.
In addition to technical clarifications, the bill contains several significant provisions. In cases when a declaration has been made by customs brokers, it establishes joint and several liability of the broker and the consignee for the payment of customs fees and taxes. This principal is already established in the current code, but is not described in detail. Therefore, in practice it often creates disputes regarding who is responsible for the payments.
The bill would also establish a mechanism for the release of merchandise into circulation before the completion of procedures pertaining to legal infringements concerning the merchandise. At this time, such merchandise must be placed in a temporary storage facility until the end of legal procedures, even if the infringement is insignificant.
This leads to financial losses for importers. Importers and exporters believe that legislators should state in detail how this new process will be implemented.
As a whole, experts think the bill addresses the interests of importers and exporters and see it as correcting difficulties which arose due to the exclusion of customs duties from the official list of taxes. Deputes assert this will not be the only correction for the TC.
| ||Source: the newspaper "Biznes"|| |