New rules redefine concept of exporter

The exporter from customs and VAT perspective

The new Union Customs Code (“UCC”) has amended the definition of exporter. From a customs perspective, the definition of exporter has been restricted to persons established in the EU who have the power to determine that the goods are to be sent to a destination outside the customs territory of the Union.

As per the new UCC, a legal entity is considered established if it has the following on EU territory:
– registered office
– central headquarters or
– ”permanent business establishment” meaning a fixed place of business, where both the necessary human and technical resources are permanently present and through which a person’s customs-related operations are wholly or partly carried out.

The new definition has raised questions for non-EU established economic operators that, under the previous Customs Code, were allowed to act as exporter of record (e.g. a Swiss company owning a stock in Romania and exporting these goods when required).

The European Commission recently published guidelines on the definition of ‘exporter’ in the UCC to clarify whether it is still possible for non-EU established companies to export goods from the European Union.

The guidelines state that when a person who disposes of the export goods does not qualify as an ‘exporter’, can still export goods from the Union if they:
– appoint an indirect customs representative established in the EU to perform export operations;
– designate a third person to be responsible for export operations through contractual arrangements.

VAT implications

From a VAT perspective, the exporter is the taxable person that performs the supply (the manufacturer, the owner of the goods) or the one who acts in his own name, but on behalf of another person (buyer-reseller). The VAT exemption for exports applies if the goods are dispatched/shipped outside the EU by the supplier, by the buyer (not established in Romania), or by other persons acting on their behalf.

In order to justify the VAT exemption for exports the required documents are the invoice/documents requested by the customs authority for drafting the export declaration together with one of the following documents: i) certification of completion of the export issued by the customs export office/ export notification certified by the customs export office in the case of electronic export declaration or ii) the third copy of the single administrative document used as paper export declaration, certified on verso by the customs office of exit.

Considering past opinions issued by the tax authorities, the VAT exemption is applicable insofar as the supplier is mentioned as exporter in the export declaration. The example on chain transactions included in the Order no. 103/2016 concerning the justification for the VAT exemption for exports confirms this approach. Thus, this example states that in the case of chain transactions (A-B-C) when the buyer B is in charge of the transport of goods outside the EU:
– if B is mentioned as exporter in the export declaration, A will apply Romanian VAT for the supply carried out by B;
– B will apply the VAT exemption for export and will register for VAT purposes in Romania.

Mihai Petre

Ileana Popescu

Related posts