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Germany: New customs procedure ATLAS-IMPOST introduced

The ATLAS-IMPOST software was launched at the beginning of the year to clear imports through German customs. At the same time, extensive changes to European customs law came into force. As a result, electronic customs declarations are now generally required for consignments with a value of less than 22 euros that are delivered from outside the European Union to an EU country. In this article you will learn everything you need to know about the Import clearance of postal and courier consignments (“Importabfertigung von Post- und Kuriersendungen”, IMPOST).

The European Union reformed its VAT system last year. There were new rules for intra-European, cross-border online trade, such as the central One-Stop-Shop platform (OSS) for the payment of VAT or the new EU-wide delivery threshold of 10,000 euro.

Background: Due to e-commerce, the import of so-called small consignments has been increasing massively for years. In some cases, foreign exporters deliberately declare fictitious low values. Due to the mass of consignments, this led to a disadvantage for domestic suppliers, for whom there was no VAT exemption. In addition, the treasury lost considerable revenue. For this reason, the EU VAT digital package stipulated that the 22 euro threshold should be abolished on 1 July 2021 and import VAT should be due from the first euro.

Now German customs has introduced the new ATLAS module IMPOST (import clearance of postal and courier consignments). This web application is intended to help manage the increase in customs declarations for small consignments under 150 euros. According to German customs, the advantage of ATLAS-IMPOST is that the clearance processes are largely automated, which is particularly beneficial for e-commerce.

Compared to a standard customs declaration, less data has to be declared and the data exchange between the application participant and customs takes place exclusively via the web application. Incidentally, consignments of goods with a value of more than 150 euro as well as goods subject to excise duty or goods subject to prohibitions and restrictions will continue to be cleared via the specialised application “ATLAS customs handling” (standard customs declaration with full data ring).

Requirements for the use of ATLAS-IMPOST

Unlike the previous ATLAS declaration procedure, IMPOST is a web-based tool. In order to use it, companies must first apply for an “Import One-Stop-Shop” identification number (IOSS-ID). The import application is linked to the IOSS registration. Prerequisite: They must be private end customers. VAT is then calculated directly to the EU buyer at the time of sale and declared to the competent tax authority of the respective member state.

In order to be able to take advantage of ATLAS-IMPOST, companies should contact their local Gerlach advisor for information and to discuss any necessary preparations regarding the correct process flow. Contact us now.

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