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Customs regulations

Everything you need to know about customs regulations

At Bring, we have professional customs advisers who can help you with managing customs. Here are 10 tips for you who want to succeed with international trade.

A customs officer is helping a Bring driver with his documents.

1. Plan the flow of goods. Ask experienced customs officials if necessary

Customs clearance ensures that goods can be legally traded internationally and at the same time ensures that the taxes end up where they should and that the increasingly strict security requirements are met. If the preparatory work, the customs clearance itself and the after-work are carried out intelligently, the administrative burden doesn't have to be that big. Without planning, however..

If you have any questions, you can contact our competent customs advisers. They are happy to help you if you need customs assistance!

2. Ensure the correct classification of the goods

All smooth customs clearance starts with the goods having the correct description. Rules for customs processing and tax rates are based on a so-called customs tariff code, so it pays off to have this in place. A customs tariff code consists of eight or ten digits (NO=8, EU=10) which describe the item in detail in line with the international HS code system.

In addition to classification, the goods' country of origin is important to have in place. By having the correct country of origin, you can avoid or get a reduced rate of duty. In some cases, this requires a binding classification statement from the customs authorities.

It is important that you provide the correct information, as incorrect information can result in fines from the authorities concerned.

3. Determine the customs value of the goods

The customs value is the basis for the tax calculation. Basically, the customs value of an item is the same as the price determined at the time of the transaction of the item. However, it may sometimes be impossible to use such a price, for example if it is not a sale between two independent parties. It is then useful to know and master alternative ways of determining the customs value.

4. Apply for permits and other relief

Some countries and goods require additional permits from the authorities when exporting or importing. Applications for relief and permits may apply to you as a trader or to your goods.

In addition, you will be able to apply for customs reductions if you trade in goods and in countries that are subject to free trade agreements. Check the requirements and possibilities, because here you can save money.

The EU and Norwegian customs authorities have plenty of information about requirements and possibilities. Other authorities, such as the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, also assist with relevant information.

5. Obtain a deferred payment if you trade with goods subject to customs duties

With a deferred payment, the person who clears customs for you can charge your own credit with the Norwegian authorities instead of posting on your behalf. This will save you from fees and any outlay commission. It also considerably lowers the freight forwarder's credit risk, so that you can have the goods delivered without having to pay the charges in each case.

The deferred payment is useful for you to have with goods subject to customs and excise duties. You now pay import VAT yourself to the tax authorities, so the deferred payment is not relevant for goods with VAT only.

Different countries have different arrangements for calculating, reporting and paying import duties. We are happy to help you find out what is relevant in your case.

Read more about our customs advisory service here

6. Create a good digital customs invoice

It is the customs invoice that describes what is to be cleared. Remember to include enough information about the seller, the buyer, the goods and the delivery conditions. Read more about the delivery conditions here.

We absolutely recommend transferring this information digitally to your freight forwarder. It pays to send us customs invoices in the form of EDI files, excel files, generated PDFs or similar rich formats. You will then be able to achieve a pleasant customs clearance price, fast processing and be sure that your information will be forwarded unchanged to the authorities' systems.

7. Get a digital archive for all your customs clearances

Large piles of forms and attachments have long been an impressive sight on the desks and shelves of customs officials for exporters or importers. Now more and more people have discovered the advantages of a digital customs declaration archive. There are many freight forwarders that offer digital storage for the documents.

Our digital customs archive solution is called Bring E-doc, and this can help you collect and keep track of the customs documents from all freight forwarders. You can easily analyze trade with foreign countries, report correct taxes and check that everything is in perfect order. Then you can accept any book inspections with your shoulders down.

A digital customs archive solution is an ideal platform for fast and efficient document handling. Regardless of whether you are in the office at home or abroad, at home or on the go, you have immediate access.

8. Let us know if something is wrong - there is no shame in recalculating

Occasionally, unforeseen errors occur in a customs process. There may be errors in the documentation, that some goods were not sent as they should or that there is an error in the transfer to the customs authorities.

Our advice is that you manage such errors as soon as you discover them, so that the customs declarations end up correctly describing your trade with foreign countries. Recalculation of completed customs clearances is a prerequisite to ensure correct reporting and fee payment of incorrect customs clearances.

Get in touch with the person who has carried out the customs clearance, and it is usually easy to sort things out. Not saying anything can quickly turn out to be a costly strategy.

9. Calculate import VAT, report and pay

Every other month you must pay VAT for imported goods to Norway. This is done in the Tax Agency's Altinnnløsning. However, the path to correctly reported and paid import VAT can be complicated if your company lacks an overview and does not know the methodology for calculating import VAT.

Bring E-doc supports you in this, so you save time and at the same time can be sure that the reporting will be correct.

10. Remember to get the fees back for returned goods

When you return goods abroad, you can often qualify for a tax refund. This does not happen by itself, but requires a recalculation of the import customs duties as well as export customs duties with reference to the original import. To make this happen, your freight forwarder depends on the customs documentation containing a link between the original import and the re-export. If this is in place, an application and a recalculation of the original import will ensure that you only pay taxes on the goods that end up remaining in the importing country.

Do you want to know more?

We at Bring are happy to help you with all the rules and procedures for reimbursement. Contact our customs advisors today!

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