Customs law

In times of globalization one thing is clear: there is a substantial overlap between VAT and customs law – and an equal need for clarification. Where goods are moved from the European Union to non-EU-countries or vice versa, the particular transaction's customs aspects need to be considered. We can help.

When it comes to customs law, we focus specifically on importation VAT. In this regard, our advice is doubly profitable. You will be able to reduce your liability for importation VAT and also aim to achieve a full input VAT refund on any importation VAT which is ultimately payable. Last but not least, time is also a vital factor. In order to optimize cash flow, it is important to defer the payment of importation VAT as long as possible but to claim its refund at the earliest possible opportunity – but we do not really need to tell you that!

This is all about customs law. Customs law is a very formal field of law and competent advice is extremely important as even the smallest and seemingly insignificant infringement can result in fines and penalties, or have criminal law consequences.

  • We can advise you regarding the optimal organization of your customs issues by identifying options for the (re)structuring/design and simplification of your processes.
  • We can assist you with preparing internal guidelines.
  • We can provide expert opinions on all customs related matters (e.g. optimization of customs procedures, appropriate customs value, preferential tariffs).
  • We can provide advice and assistance on external customs audits.
  • We can represent you in any and all appeal proceedings and assist you in your applications for refunds, waivers, repayments and remissions.

As lawyers, we are of course also available to represent you in proceedings before the financial courts, the German Federal Fiscal Court, right up to the level of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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Due to advancing globalization, the international movement of goods is becoming increasingly important. Many companies source goods and production materials from countries all over the world or shift their production, at least in part, to foreign countries, far beyond the borders of the European Union. Cross-border trade necessitates an awareness of and compliance with customs regulations. If these regulations are infringed, customs duties, in substantial amounts, can result, giving rise to significant tax risks for companies and their representatives.


It should be every company’s goal to reduce customs duties in order to cut costs and thereby successfully compete at an international level. Companies can achieve this by:

  • Optimizing the customs value
  • Making use of certain customs procedures and thus avoiding import duties
  • Making use of preferences for the reduction of the import tax burden.

KMLZ advises companies of all sizes on optimizing customs procedures concerning commodity flows and assists its clients in keeping their tax burdens, as well as any associated risks, low. We offer you every type of consultation – ranging from the examination of individual matters concerning customs law, as for example tariffing of single products, to the development of a comprehensive customs strategy for an entire company.


The examination of existing procedures is as important as the customs optimized implementation of new ones. It is necessary to examine and possibly adjust existing procedures from time to time due to legislative amendments and ever changing business practices. These include, for example, requirements relating to existing authorizations. Regarding customs treatment, customs law often places the companies, themselves, in charge. By means of electronic processes, it is much easier for the authorities to detect mistakes in customs procedures. Disclosing such infringements often results in fine proceedings. Therefore, the organisation of and liability for customs compliance is as important as the reduction of the customs tax burden.

KMLZ examines companies’ customs procedures on site, with a focus on optimization by means of a customs review. The focus of the review is to reduce risks concerning customs procedures, to reveal potential for refunds, to reduce the administrative and financial effort, to clearly define the company’s customs compliance, as well as to ensure the functioning of the necessary processes on an organisational level. On top of this, the drafting of contracts for service providers is also one of our responsibilities.

Customs and import VAT

Every import triggers import VAT. This can place a substantial burden on a company’s liquidity, although the import VAT can always be deducted as an input VAT deduction. Companies have the opportunity to optimize procedures, in particular, at the interface between customs and import VAT and can therefore avoid legal uncertainty.


Customs law regulations are becoming increasingly complex and consequently the requirements for companies are becoming stricter. Due to the variety of European and national regulations and the corresponding jurisprudence, it is difficult for companies to be fully aware of and pursue their rights. However, in order to be in a position to pursue a company’s interests in an optimal way, this knowledge is essential when engaged in discussions with the customs authorities.

KMLZ assists companies to pursue and enforce their rights. Our team provides consultation for individual requests and advice and assistance on external customs audits. Furthermore, we advise and represent you in appeal proceedings and assist you in your application for refunds, waivers, repayments and remissions. We are of course also available to represent you in proceedings before the financial courts, from the German Federal Fiscal Court right up to the level of the European Court of Justice.

Excise Duties

As a matter of course, we also advise companies on excise duties including tobacco tax, liquor tax and the excise duty on coffee. We are experts with respect to every type of customs concern.


Lawyer, Specialist lawyer for tax law,
Certified tax consultant
Phone: +49 89 217501285