Goods are classified for customs duty purposes under the Harmonised System
and the TARIC (integrated customs tariff of the European Union) nomen-
clature, and the valuation principles follow the internationally recognized
customs code. The basis for assessing duties is usually the supplier’s invoice
unless it is obviously incorrect. This basis is subject to amendment, either in
response to subsequent price adjustments, or because of other charges and
credits raised separately or otherwise borne by the importer that directly affect
the import value of the goods. Customs duty auditors regularly inspect the
books of German importers to establish whether they have appropriately
accounted for such adjustments.
Special procedures are in force with respect to agricultural products. These are
subject to special EU levies, usually based on net weight. Maximum rates by
value have been fixed for certain items.
Except for large importers with their own bonded warehouses, the
administration of customs duties is substantially completed at the point of entry
into the country by the carrier or other forwarding agent. The duties imposed,
together with the VAT on imports (Einfuhrumsatzsteuer – EUSt) and any
excise or other taxes levied (see Chapter L), are charged back to the importer
as cash outlays. The importer must also comply with the reporting and return
requirements of the Intrastat system of the EU and must, of course, establish
a suitable filing system for the retention and recovery of the import
documentation as needed for customs or tax audits.