Regarding transactions to supply and move goods between Greece and non-EU countries, as well as trade and movement of excise goods, awareness of the relevant customs rules is essential. Careful planning minimises costs, achieves time efficiency and prevents potential infringement of customs rules, which in turn can give rise to significant administrative penalties and even criminal sanctions.
Our firm has unique expertise in customs and excise duty issues, advising clients in many different industries, including, among others, the energy, tobacco, alcoholic beverage, shipping, aircraft and automotive sectors. Our customs practice includes a wide range of advisory services in cases of customs controversy.
With an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the EU customs and excise duty rules and domestic guidelines, we regularly advise clients on matters relating, inter alia, to:
- The Authorised Economic Operator status, also assisting clients to obtain the appropriate authorisation, as the case may be
- Customs simplifications and special schemes for the suspension of customs duties and taxes, enhancing cost and time efficiency for our clients
- Determination of customs value of goods in complex transactions such as chain transactions, intra-group transactions, or transactions involving payment of royalties relating to imported goods
- Cross-border movement and storage of excise goods under suspension of excise duty and VAT.
Our customs and excise team is also very experienced regarding indirect taxes that are relevant to customs related transactions, including VAT and other special taxes, such as luxury tax, car registration duty, as well as airport modernisation and development duty.
For example, we have advised:
- A multinational group, leading in the IT business, to establish the first import center in Greece operating under an import VAT deferral scheme
- Multinational groups active in the electricity business in relation to the simplified scheme applicable to the import and sale of electricity in Greece
- An oil and gas major for more than two decades, with regards to procedures relevant to the suspension of customs and excise duties of third country petroleum products and the implementation of special suspension regimes for their blending installations in Greece.
Our customs litigation team has developed unrivalled experience and know-how in support of clients in all stages of customs controversy. Among the key areas of expertise are the following:
- Support and defence of our clients before any court, including the Greek Supreme Administrative Court and the European Court of Justice
- Advice on the success chances of customs litigation
- Advice on a variety of procedural issues relating to customs law, including refund claims, corrective actions, retention period of supporting documents and statute of limitations
- Efficient support in customs audits, by assisting our clients to cope with the auditor’s requests
- Support and representation of clients in the special procedures for complying with customs authorities enforcement of irrevocable court decisions.
For example, we have represented:
- A leading company of the automotive sector in a dispute before the Greek Courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union in a case related to EUR.1 movement certificates regarding vehicles delivered in Greece
- Major oil companies in disputes related to the assessment of excise duty and penalties with respect to alleged infringements related to oil supplies
- A multinational pharmaceutical company in a complex case regarding the post clearance amendment of incorrect customs declarations that were filed with Greek customs offices.