Legal services (legal assistance) in customs and other administrative dispute resolution
Foreign economic activity is inextricably linked with the mandatory interaction with the customs authorities for customs clearance of goods transported across the border. Customs rules are very diverse and change quite often, in this regard, it is quite difficult to track the changes made and not violate the customs legislation by foreign economic activity participants on their own. At the same time, with such interaction, disagreements may arise between the participant in foreign economic activity and the customs authorities. As a rule, the resolution of disagreements occurs either by directly resolving the disputed point with the customs authority, or, when such a solution is not possible, by applying to the judicial authorities.
The main legal act regulating relations related to the application of customs legislation is the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union. In addition, customs relations are regulated by other legal acts of the EAEU, the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, etc. The legislation of the EAEU in the field of customs regulation is constantly being improved, which leads to the need for timely monitoring of the changes made. The Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation provides for a large list of offenses arising from legal relations with the customs authorities. Also, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation provides for criminal liability for illegal export of technologies and evasion of customs payments. Taking into account the introduction of economic sanctions against the Russian Federation by other states, as well as the adoption of retaliatory measures by Russia, the questions of how to avoid possible liability for the movement of goods across the Russian border are of particular relevance.
However, it is not always only a violation by a foreign trade participant that leads to disputes and disagreements with the customs authorities. At the same time, the customs authorities themselves may violate, for example, both the deadlines for processing documents and the procedure for issuing them, which leads to such disagreements and the need to resolve the resulting conflict. Judicial practice in the field of customs law shows that customs authorities make mistakes in customs clearance quite often.
Customs disputes can be divided into several main categories:
- Administrative responsibility. Such disputes arise, for example, in case of violation of the deadlines for filing the necessary reports, lack of declaration or false declaration of goods, etc. Responsibility and prosecution in this category of cases is carried out in accordance with Chapter 16 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation.
- Recovery of losses caused through the fault of the customs authorities. This type of dispute is considered to be one of the most difficult types of disputes with customs authorities. This is due to the fact that payments for such disputes are made from the state budget and receive special attention from the judiciary.
- Challenging the resolutions of the customs authorities regarding the calculation of customs duties, the application of benefits.
- Classification of goods according to the commodity nomenclature of foreign economic activity. Assigning goods to a certain code of the Commodity nomenclature of foreign economic activity of the Eurasian Economic Union often leads to the fact that the customs authorities believe that the classification is incorrect and try to classify the goods in another category with higher customs duty rates. This leads to disputes between customs authorities and participants in foreign economic activity.
- Adjustment of the customs value of goods. Also one of the most common types of disputes. The complexity of this type of dispute lies in the fact that there is a problem of false declaration or underestimation of the value of goods by participants in foreign economic activity. In this regard, the customs authorities are very attentive to the customs value of the goods, they often believe that it is underestimated or incorrectly declared, which leads to disputes with the customs authorities.
- Other types of disputes that arise when interacting with the customs authorities, such as disputes after an inspection carried out by the customs authorities, or in the application of customs benefits, or in case of refusal to return customs payments, or disputes of transport companies, etc.
Legal proceedings in customs disputes
Regardless of the type of dispute with the customs authorities, the participation of a qualified specialist with extensive practical experience makes it possible to reduce possible risks, simplify the procedure for the participant in foreign trade, reduce the time for customs disputes, etc. In this case, the resolution of customs disputes is carried out in two ways:
- By way of administrative appeal. This type of complaint is considered by the higher customs authorities and, as a rule, their decision corresponds to the earlier decision of the lower customs authority. However, with the right approach, the right tactics for resolving controversial issues, such situations are resolved in favor of the foreign economic activity participant.
- Appeal to the judiciary to resolve the current conflict situation. The main criterion when choosing to resolve a dispute with the customs authority in court is the economic component, often litigation with the customs authorities can be delayed in time, but with the right and competent approach, they bring a positive result to the foreign trade participant.
Often pre-trial settlement of the dispute does not lead to a decision in favor of the applicant. In these cases, it is necessary to analyze judicial practice and documents on a disputable situation in order to determine judicial prospects with subsequent appeal to the court. The emerging jurisprudence shows that the courts make ambiguous decisions on similar cases, argue their conclusions in different ways when making decisions.
As a general rule, customs disputes are considered as a type of economic disputes. At the same time, the process of resolving the dispute is complicated by the participation in it of a person endowed with a public law status.
At the same time, it is necessary to understand that the professional preparation and conduct of foreign economic activity by qualified specialists makes it possible to reduce the possibility of a customs dispute even at the initial stage of conducting foreign economic activity. This approach allows minimizing possible risks in the conduct of foreign economic activity and reduces the likelihood of customs disputes.
Meanwhile, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that an important component in the consideration of customs disputes are the terms:
- Deadlines for submission of documents on appealing decisions taken by the customs authorities.
- Limitation periods.
- Terms of consideration of a customs dispute in court.
Not only the losses caused to the participant of foreign economic activity, but also the further reputation and fate of the company engaged in international activities may depend on the timing of the consideration of customs disputes. This is due, for example, to the fact that the goods detained at customs are damaged and not delivered on time to the final consumer, or the goods are not delivered on time to the counterparty, which must deliver this product further along the trade chain, etc.
At the same time, regardless of the participation of a qualified specialist in the conduct of international activities or not, in the event of disputes between participants in foreign economic activity and customs authorities, it is worth contacting a competent and experienced lawyer to resolve the conflict situation, who will analyze the current situation, develop a strategy for dealing with the case, prepare all the necessary documents and represent the participant of foreign economic activity in all necessary authorities.
- Analysis and assessment of the prospects for customs disputes
- Development of a strategy for the protection of a foreign trade participant in the consideration of customs disputes
- Preparation of procedural and other documents in the framework of the customs business
- Representation of participants in foreign economic activity in the consideration of customs disputes in customs and judicial authorities