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Customs planning

Customs consulting

Importing and exporting goods involves plenty of planning opportunities. We advise you in choosing the right customs treatment and procedure. We help you apply for permits, classify goods under the correct commodity codes, and train your staff in Customs-related matters. We also assist in complaint processes regarding post-clearance recovery of customs duties.

With the right kinds of processes you ensure that customs clearances have been made using the correct information. Importers are always responsible for the validity of customs clearances, despite using a representative for the clearances (e.g. a forwarding agency).

Importing and exporting goods involves plenty of planning opportunities.


Tavaran maahantuontiin ja maastavientiin liittyy paljon suunnittelumahdollisuuksia.

Excise taxation

Excise taxes are indirect taxes that target the consumption or use of particular products. Excise taxes are collected because of reasons related to the state’s finances, but are also connected to targets related to social and health policy and environmental and energy policy. Excise taxes are collected both for products manufactured in Finland and imported to Finland. In both cases taxation is carried out by the Tax Administration.

National excise taxes include ice cream, soft drinks, drink packages, and waste. The excise duties for certain products in EU member states belong in the harmonised (unified by directives) excise taxation. These products include alcohol, tobacco products, liquid fuels, electricity, and certain other fuels. Tax tables of products subject to excise duty are based on commodity codes.

If company operations involve products subject to excise duty, it is good to apply for the relevant permit from the Tax Administration for the purposes of declaring the tax and swift payment.

We help companies apply for the required permits and find out whether the product is subject to excise duty. It is also possible to apply for a precedent on excise taxation from the Tax Administration.


Customs mapping

Customs mapping generates an overall picture of the amount of import and export and customs duties paid. The first step in customs mapping is requesting a written copy from the Customs of the information given by the company through customs clearances in a three-year period. We analyse the information and put together an easy-to-read presentation for your company, including e.g. information on paid customs duties, import VAT, declared commodity codes, origin, customs value, and transport costs.

In addition to the results, customs mapping also includes comments and recommended procedures. With the customs mapping you can save money and time, and avoid paying needless customs duties in the future. You should apply for a tax amendment on possible needlessly paid customs duties for the last three years. Customs mapping does not require using the company’s own resources.


Customs treatments and procedures

Corporate customs legislation provides many opportunities aimed at promoting the international competitiveness of companies operating in the EU. With a good grasp of customs treatments and procedures it is possible to benefit from the reliefs and simplifications made possible by customs legislation in the best way possible.

With customs procedures it is possible to defer paying VAT on customs duties and imports, or avoid payment completely if, for example, the commodity leaves the organisation.  The use of these co-called special procedures requires a permit from Customs. We assist you in the application process and see to it that your company has sufficient information for utilising the procedure.


Commodity classification

Classification assigns the correct commodity code for imports or exports. The commodity code affects the customs duty rate, excise tax, and import VAT assigned for the commodity, as well as preferential treatment based on origin, and import and export limitations. The necessity of careful classification is not to be underestimated. Incorrect classification can cause expenses afterwards. Careful customs clearance and planning can result in considerable savings.

What should you pay attention to in commodity classification?

Classifying goods under the correct commodity code is often assigned to the forwarding agency. However, the possessor of goods is responsible for declaring the correct commodity code.

Customs authorities pay attention to commodity classification in their inspections. Incorrect commodity codes may cause considerable expenses if e.g. the customs duty rate for the commodity code that was used is smaller than that of the correct code. Additional expenses may also arise if the company used a free trade agreement in a situation where it is not possible.

How to correctly classify imports and exports

Classification is based on information available on the goods, so you must be familiar with the goods you are classifying. The possessor of goods usually has the best information on their qualities. Required information may include e.g. the purpose and material of the commodity, and whether it is a solid piece or if it can be divided into separate components. Without the necessary information choosing the correct commodity code is nothing but an educated guess.

In addition, classification requires knowledge of customs nomenclature and tariff setting. Customs nomenclature includes the common rules of interpretation that determine the order in which the nomenclature is applied. In addition, clarifying notes of nomenclatures can be used to help classify commodities.

Determining the correct commodity code requires knowledge of both the qualities of the goods under classification and the classification process. People who best know the qualities of the product (e.g. engineers) are not always familiar with classification processes, and vice versa.

Regular meetings about classification with experts dealing with customs-related matters and people responsible for purchasing and product development are beneficial for the company.

Cut costs with classification planning

Classification of goods is not always straightforward. Customs nomenclature can include several near-identical codes, making a commodity fit under several different codes. Companies can cut costs by selecting among the possible codes the one with the lowest rate of customs duty.

For example, for a commodity manufactured out of several parts it may be sensible to use a separate code for each part instead of one code for the whole. If separate parts can be used for several different purposes it may be possible to choose another code for the part with a lower customs duty rate or none at all.



The Authorised Economic Operator is a worldwide project aimed at enhancing international supply chain security. The increase of reciprocal recognition through similar systems in other countries will also increase the benefits of AEO.

With an AEO certificate companies can demonstrate their operational and logistic practices and gain the status of a reliable trade partner. Companies benefit from simplified customs treatments and reliefs in inspections related to customs supervision.

The application process for an AEO certificate involves a clarification of internal controls, systems, processes, and security standards related to the applicant’s supply chains for the part of both information security and physical security. Because the clarification concerns the company’s entire business it can become arduous for the applicant company.


Nomenclature mapping

Commodity codes affect the customs duty rate, excise tax, and import VAT assigned for a commodity, as well as preferential treatment based on origin, and import and export limitations. The necessity of careful classification is not to be underestimated. Incorrect classification can cause expenses afterwards. Careful customs clearance and planning can result in considerable savings.


Contact us

Laura Guérin

Laura Guérin

Customs Excise & International Trade

Tel: +357 (0)20 787 7359

Juha Laitinen

Juha Laitinen

Partner, Tax Services

Tel: +358 (0)20 787 7409

Valter Sundman

Valter Sundman

Customs Excise & International Trade

Tel: +358 (0)20 787 7745

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