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Retention period customs and excise legislation

Retention period customs and excise legislation

Summary dated April 15th, 2018 of the essential legal provisions regarding the retention periods of your archives.

Documents Minimum retention period Format Start date of the retention period Act
Directories (in which all actions related to import, export and transit are registered) and documentary proof of customs representative 3 years Paper and other formats allowed (1) Following the annual closure of the directory Art. 130 § 2 of the General Act on Customs and Excise of July 18th, 1977
All documents and information required for customs control 3 years (2) Paper and other formats allowed (1) This period commences:
in the case of goods released for free circulation duty-free or at a reduced rate of import duty on account of their end-use: as from the end of the year in which they cease to be subject to customs supervision;
in the case of goods placed under another customs procedure or in temporary storage: from the end of the year in which the customs procedure concerned has been discharged or temporary storage has ended
Articles 15 and 51 Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code
Documents and correspondence required to check the data of the customs declaration Not explicitly set out (however, see the retention periods in other fiscal and accounts legislation) Paper and other formats allowed (1) Art. 201 § 2 of the General Act on Customs and Excise of July 18th, 1977
Invoice books, invoices, copies of letters, ledgers, inventory books, all accounts, registers, documents and correspondence regarding the commercial or professional activity Not explicitly set out (however, see the retention periods in other fiscal and accounts legislation) Paper and other formats allowed (1) Art. 203 § 1 of the General Act on Customs and Excise of July 18th, 1977

Although we have composed this list with much care, Merak N.V. cannot be held responsible for any errors or any changes made to legislation.

(1) Based on the provisions of the community customs code (“by any means accessible by and acceptable to the customs authorities”) and the general Act on customs and excise, it can be deduced that the storage in any other format than paper is allowed for as long as the documents can be submitted in a legible and understandable format (D. BOGAERTS (eds.), “Bewaring van documenten”, APR, Kluwer, Mechelen, 2009, 46).

(2) If a customs authority control in connection with an excise debt shows that the entry concerned must be amended and in case the person concerned has been informed thereof, the documents and the information must be retained beyond the term of 3 years for three more years.
Where an appeal has been lodged or where court proceedings have begun, the documents and information must be kept for the additional period of three years or until the appeals procedure or court proceedings are terminated, whichever is the later (article 51 Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code).

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