EU Court orders interest payments on repayments of duties and charges

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EU Court orders interest payments on repayments of duties and charges

Customs Flash – Nr. 04 - 2017

On January 18, 2017 the European Union Court of Justice (‘EU CoJ’) has ruled that EU Member States are obliged to pay interest on duties collected in violation of EU law. This judgement applies to all customs duties and charges, levied under Union law

Payment of interest on repaid duties

Subsequent to the partial annulment by the EU CoJ of Regulation no 1472/2006 imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty on certain footwear originating in China and Vietnam, the Wortmann Company successfully claimed reimbursement of anti-dumping duties paid on their imports affected by the Regulation. The customs authorities rejected Wortmann’s request for interest payments on those reimbursed duties, however. As the claim for reimbursement was not brought before a German court, the authorities were of the opinion that no interest payment was due to Wortmann on the basis of the Community Customs Code read together with the provisions of German customs law.

The national court questioned if and to what extent the EU law principle of effectiveness requires national law to provide for the payment of interest on reimbursed import duties and referred the case to the EU CoJ.

The EU CoJ ruled that when import duties are reimbursed after being levied in breach of EU law, Member States are obliged to pay interest on the reimbursed amounts as of the moment of initial payment. The application of Article 241 Community Customs Code, explicitly excluding interest payments on reimbursed duties, is limited to cases of a posteriori review of customs declarations and the establishment of a miscalculation of duties and charges.

The outcome of this case is in line with earlier case law and the approach taken in certain EU member states, e.g. the Netherlands.

As the EU CoJ judgement is based on principles of Union law, the ruling is also relevant for reimbursements under the Union Customs Code.

What does this mean for you?

Reimbursement of duties and charges initially levied in breach of EU law triggers interest payment by the authorities. Companies can claim those interests for all future reimbursements, although national procedural rules and terms of expiry should be assessed.

What to do?

Companies should be aware of the possibility to claim interest payments on any repayment of duties or charges in the past or future and act accordingly. If you have any questions concerning the possibilities and corresponding actions to undertake, do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to assist you.

Meer weten over Refund of interest on duties collected in violation of EU law?

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