COVID-19: New Customs Department instructions published on the importation of medical equipment and supplies
Spain Tax Alert
Following Decision (EU) 2020/491 (see our commentary), the Customs Department updates its instructions for claiming import duty relief and VAT exemption on the importation of goods needed to combat the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Customs Department has published a new notice NI GA 12/2020 (see the information notice here) in which, following the Decision adopted by the European Commission, it describes the scope for claiming the tax benefits on the importation of equipment and supplies in relation to Covid-19 and delivers new instruction for completing import declarations.
Regarding eligible products, it restricts the tax benefits to goods that will be used to combat Covid-19, for which reference is made to the document drawn up by the World Customs Organization, and accessible from the notice itself (see WCO document).
On eligible persons, the cases in which the tax benefits may be claimed have been extended:
a) The benefits are still claimable on the direct importation by entities entitled to exemption (state organizations, public bodies and other bodies governed by public law or approved organizations) and by other entities for donation to those “entitled entities”.
b) These benefits have been extended to apply to importations made by private entities for subsequent transfer to entitled entities, if they support that they are acting on behalf of them. It must be recalled that the importation by private entities on behalf of entitled entities (due to donation or sale) requires the relevant guarantee to be provided in every case.
In relation to timeframe, the benefits are claimable since January 30. On this subject, it mentions the obligation/suitability of correcting the returns filed to fulfill the instructions and requirements set out in the notice, which will allow any tax benefits that have already been claimed to be confirmed or any applicable refunds to be requested.
As an additional factor to the elements described above, the notice describes the subsequent requirements that the imported supplies must meet, and how to adjust claimed tax benefits, if the imported supplies are used for other purposes.
Lastly, under the heading “customs declaration”, it gives detailed instructions on how to complete import declarations (boxes and codes to use) in the different cases. It is important to take note of these instructions for both future declarations and for importations made in the past, to consider whether they need to be corrected, and to confirm any claimed tax benefits.
Information notices issued by the Customs Department for this exceptional situation are extremely useful documents for operators which we recommend following, together with the guidance published by the European Commission (see here), and regularly updated.