European counterparts distinguish the French customs authorities by the diversity of their tasks and missions, as well as by the fragmentation of their organisation. To improve the efficiency and productivity of its administrations, the French government has decided to reorganise the missions of tax, customs and fraud administrations with two key objectives.
Firstly, since the 2020 finance law voted on 29 December 2020, the transfer of customs taxes in view of the tax administration have been enforced. Today, the government ambition is to consolidate tax management and recovery with one main aim – to put into service a tax single interlocutor.
These taxes are in the process of being transferred for two years. In 2019, this applied to the tax on non-alcoholic beverages, in 2020 and 2021, the general tax on polluting activities. In 2022, it concerns import VAT, consumption taxes on electricity, gas and carbon and the yearly registration fee. In 2023, the transfer will concern customs penalties and 2024 will see the focus on internal taxes on energy products and the recovery of alcohol and tobacco indirect contributions.
The second aim of this new organisation is the refocusing of the customs authorities on its essential missions, and the flow and control of goods.
To make it easier for goods to cross borders and to improve the clarity of the actions of the different administrations for port operators, all the formalities applicable to food of non-animal origins will be accomplished by a single administration instead of two. This should increase efficiency and speed. Then, from 1 November 2021, the controls on import operations carried out by the fraud administration in Marseille and le Havre will be transferred to the customs administration. The transfer of competences is subject to checks relating to the sanitary requirements of non-animal food denominations, controls of organic products, scrutiny of standards for the marketing of fruits and vegetables and controls of materials that come into contact with food commodities, all realised before the clearance of products.
This decision was based on a trial in Dunkerque where on 1 January 2020 the import controls carried out by the fraud administration were transferred to the customs administration. The success of the experience led to the decision to transfer the controls to Marseille and le Havre, and during the year 2022 to the entire territory.
The customs authorities will develop and put in place a digital services platform to organise and manage the sanitary and phytosanitary controls. The operators will need to register to benefit from the services offered by the digital services platform, for instance to book appointments.
The transfer, which establishes customs know-how in the management of the international flow and control of goods, strengthens the position of customs as the main border administration.
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