With Circular Letter no. 40/2021 of 14 December 2021, the Agency for Excise, Customs and Monopolies (ADM) has provided some operational clarifications regarding imports made by entrepreneurs not established in the EU who make use, for various reasons, of customs representatives or tax representatives for VAT purposes.
In particular, the ADM has clarified who can correctly be the importer and who can be the declarant in front of the Customs Office.
The importer is the person able to provide all the information required for the application of the provisions governing the customs procedure for which the customs declaration is presented. This position can be held by an entrepreneur not established in the EU, who, however, must obtain an EORI number (under Article 9 of EU Regulation 952/2013 - UCC).
The declarant, on the other hand, must be a person established in the EU; the customs declaration can be presented by a person not established in the EU, but for this purpose, he/she must make use of a customs representative established in the EU (Article 18 UCC) who acts via an indirect representation, and thus assumes the role of the declarant for customs purposes.
The tax representative for VAT purposes (but it is the same for direct VAT identification) is relevant only for VAT purposes and it is not entitled to submit a customs declaration on behalf of an unestablished person; the VAT number issued to the tax representative, however, must appear in field 44 of the customs declaration exclusively for the purpose of fulfilling the obligations required by Presidential Decree 633/1972.
Consequently, if a person not established in the EU, with a VAT representative in Italy, wishes to import goods into Italy, they cannot do so using this VAT representative, but they will have to use a forwarder established in the EU who operates via a direct representation regime with the Italian customs.
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