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ECJ rules against Hauptzollamt Braunschweig in G.A. case: import VAT on smuggled cigarettes

  • Cigarettes smuggled into the EU can result in potential liability for indirect taxes
  • G.A. bought smuggled cigarettes in Poland and took them to Germany without informing customs authorities
  • The Brunswick customs office issued a tax notice for import VAT of €2,006
  • The Community Customs Code allowed the customs office to pursue G.A. for customs duty in Germany
  • The customs office argued that the same rule should apply to import VAT
  • The CJEU ruled that the provision only established the time when import VAT became due, without specifying where it became due
  • Import VAT has to apply in a particular territory, and since the cigarettes were imported into Poland, the Brunswick customs office was not entitled to pursue G.A. for import VAT.


Note that this post was (partially) written with the help of AI. It is always useful to review the original source material, and where needed to obtain (local) advice from a specialist.


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