With a decrease in the duty-free threshold for orders from foreign online stores to € 200, some buyers are faced with the need to pay a fee according to the old standards – not the cost of each individual parcel, but all that came in one consignment. According to Kommersant’s interlocutors, the fault was the failure of the Federal Customs Service (FCS) program, which took into account different orders of Russian customers as one and billed for exceeding the norm. Market participants say that the problem could affect dozens of Russians, but has already been eliminated.
The FCS software was not ready for the new norms of duty-free import of goods, which entered into effect on January 1, 2020, buyers of foreign online stores complained online with reference to data from express delivery services. Interlocutors of Kommersant in such services confirmed the fact of problems.
In the first few days of January, the customs authorities set up an algorithm for calculating payments, the FCS representative told Kommersant. “During this period, the Sheremetyevo customs office accrued customs payments in respect of express shipments simultaneously received by one person in connection with the summation of their value,” he confirms. The situation affected several dozens of express deliveries at the same time, after updating the algorithm, the calculation of customs payments is carried out in the normal mode, the FCS assured.
Excessive funds paid, recipients can return or use to pay customs duties for subsequent shipments, the representative of the service said.
Since 2020, the principle of levying duties on goods purchased for personal use abroad has undergone major changes. So, in 2019, the threshold of € 500 and 31 kg was summed up for all purchases of a citizen from foreign online stores per month. When exceeding, he paid 30% of this amount, but not less than € 4 per 1 kg in terms of exceeding the value or weight norm. Starting January 1, 2020, a duty-free threshold is applied to each individual parcel costing up to € 200 and weighing up to 31 kg, excluding deadlines, and the duty will be 15% of the excess amount, but not less than € 2 for each extra kilogram. In December 2019, it became known that at that time, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, on the proposal of the Ministry of Finance, instructed to work out the issue of further phased reduction of the duty-free threshold.
From July 1, 2020, it is proposed to lower the rate to € 100, from January 2021 to € 50, and from 2022 to € 20.
According to one of Kommersant’s interlocutors, the problem did not concern all customers: if orders were delivered by different services or they arrived on different days, then summing up did not occur, he specified.
The question was raised by the Association of Express Carriers (AEP), another source told Kommersant. “Since January 15, the FCS has correctly set the price. Now everything should be considered normal, ”he added. The cause of the problem could be that the FCS began using the new program, which found a flaw, heard AEP President Vladimir Sarkisov. Since the beginning of 2020, the situation could affect dozens of Russian buyers, Mr. Sarkisov estimates, but their exact number is unknown. The press service of the Russian Post assured that the situation did not affect the postal items delivered through its channels.
Before the introduction of the new norms of duty-free import “on a living environment”, the program could not be tested, therefore, due to the deadlines it could have failed, says Yury Shevchenko, Vice President for Operations at DHL Express. Now they do not see any massive problems at DHL. For those who paid the incorrect fee, Mr. Shevchenko recommends contacting the FCS directly with the indication of circumstances. If the duty is paid without any reason, the payer has the right to expect its full return, emphasizes Valery Glazunov, general director of the law company Glazunov and Semenov. For this, the lawyer clarifies, it is necessary to submit documents for the return of the fee to the customs authority and wait for the decision to be made.