Customs Rulings

It is international “best practice” for Customs to provide binding rulings (also known as “binding information”) to traders to facilitate their compliance with customs requirements.  These rulings are supplied on request and are based on information provided by the applicant. Importers and exporters can then produce the ruling (or its reference number) to expedite the processing of their goods.  Best practice also restricts the ability of Customs to revoke rulings retroactively and without prior notice to the concerned parties.

Determining tariff classification, origin of goods and the established rate of import duty, VAT, excise tax and any other levies, and valuation methodology can be very complex for certain goods. A customs ruling ensures that the tariff classification nomenclature used is deemed correct by Kosovo Customs. The ruling is binding until it is revoked or amended. Rulings provide certainty to the importer, or his or her representative, as to how goods are to be classified, and thereby facilitates the documentation requirements for clearing goods at the border. Rulings may also be very helpful regarding the determination of customs value methodology, origin of goods, and the application of duties, taxes and other levies.

The Kosovo Customs Code (Article18) provides that upon proper request by an interested party Customs may issue a binding ruling regarding the tariff classification or origin of goods. Rulings remain valid for 6 years regarding tariff classification and 3 years for origin determination unless relevant legal requirements change or specified conditions are not met. There are currently no provisions for binding rulings regarding the determination of duty and tax rates or valuation methodology.

Additional Information on Binding Rulings

Binding rulings or “binding information” means information on the tariff classification, valuation methodology, or origin of goods that is binding on both the importer and Kosovo Customs.  Normally binding information is provided in the form of a written ruling by Kosovo Customs.

Articles 12 to 18 of the Customs Code provide the authority for Kosovo Customs to provide the binding information service for traders.  Further, Articles 8 to 13 of Administrative Instruction No. 11/2009 Laying down Provisions for the Implementation of the Customs Code provide detailed information on “Binding Information”, including directions on how to apply for binding information.

Customs rulings or “binding information” represent a trade facilitation service provided by Kosovo Customs to traders (usually to importers) who want to know, in advance of making a trade transaction, what obligations they will have when they actually undertake the transaction.  The objective of a customs ruling is to provide predictability in the form of advance information to traders on the amount of revenue that will be payable when a transaction takes place, along with any other obligations such as a requirement for a license, permit or certificate.

In order to determine how much revenue will be payable in connection with a future transaction, importers can apply to Kosovo Customs for an advance binding ruling (“binding information”) on the classification of a product, the determined country of origin of a product and the established rate of import duty, VAT, excise tax and any other levies, if any of the foregoing.

Applications for binding information must be made by means of a form conforming to the specimen shown in Annex 1 of the Administrative Instruction No. 11/2009.

Applications for binding tariff information must include the following particulars:

  • the holder's name and address;
  • the name and address of the applicant where that person is not the holder;
  • a detailed description of the goods permitting their identification and the  determination of their classification in the Customs nomenclature;
  • the composition of the goods and any methods of examination used to determine this, where the classification depends on it;
  • any samples, photographs, plans, catalogues or other documents available which may assist the Customs in determining the correct classification of the goods in the Customs nomenclature, to be attached as annexes;
  • the classification envisaged by the applicant;
  • agreement to supply a translation of any attached document into one of the official language of Kosovo if requested by the Customs authorities;
  • any particulars to be treated as confidential;
  • indication by the applicant whether, to his knowledge, binding tariff information for identical or similar goods has already been applied for, or issued in Kosovo;
  • acceptance that the information supplied may be stored on a database of the Customs and that the particulars of the binding tariff information, including any photograph(s), sketch(es), brochure(s) etc., may be disclosed to the public via the Internet, with the exception of the information which the applicant has marked as confidential; the provisions governing the protection of information in force will apply.

Applications for binding origin information must include the following particulars:

  • the holder's name and address;
  • the name and address of the applicant where that person is not the holder;
  • the applicable legal basis, for the purposes of Sections 11 and 11B of the Code;
  • a detailed description of the goods and their tariff classification;
  • the composition of the goods and any methods of examination used to determine this and their ex-works price, as necessary;
  • the conditions enabling origin to be determined, the materials used and their origin, tariff classification, corresponding values and a description of the circumstances (rules on change of tariff heading, value added, description of the operation or process, or any other specific rule) enabling the conditions in question to be met; in particular the exact rule of origin applied and the origin envisaged for the goods will be mentioned;
  • any samples, photographs, plans, catalogues or other documents available on the composition of the goods and their component materials and which may assist in describing the manufacturing process or the processing undergone by the materials;
  • agreement to supply a translation of any attached document into one of the official language of Kosovo if requested by the Customs authorities;
  • any particulars to be treated as confidential, whether in relation to the public or the administrations;
  • indication by the applicant whether, to his knowledge, binding tariff information or binding origin information for goods or materials identical or similar to those referred to under points (d) or (f) have already been applied for or issued in Kosovo;
  • Acceptance that the information supplied may be stored on a public-access database of the Customs authorities; however, apart from Article 16 of the Code, the provisions governing the protection of information in force in Kosovo will apply.

Binding information will be provided by Kosovo Customs in writing to the applicant as soon as possible:

Tariff matters: if it has not been possible to notify binding tariff information to the applicant within three months of acceptance of the application, the Customs will contact the applicant to explain the reason for the delay and indicate when they expect to be able to notify the information.

Origin matters: information will be notified within a time limit of 150 days from the date when the application was accepted.

Binding information will be notified by means of a form conforming to the specimen shown in Annex 2 (binding tariff information) or Annex 3 (binding origin information) in Administrative Instruction No. 11/2009.  The notification will indicate what particulars will be treated as confidential. The right of appeal referred to in Article 291 of the Customs Code will be mentioned.

The holder of binding information may use it in respect of particular goods only where Kosovo Customs has established:

Tariff matters: that the goods in question conform in all respects to those described in the information presented;

Origin matters: that the goods in question and the circumstances determining their origin conform in all respect to those described in the information presented.

A ruling providing “binding information” will normally be valid for a period of six years in the case of tariffs and three years in the case of origin from the date of issue.

However, a ruling providing binding information will be annulled where it is based on inaccurate or incomplete information from the applicant.

Binding information will cease to be valid:

  1. In the case of tariff information where:
  2. Legal provisions are adopted and the information no longer conforms to those provisions;
  3. It is no longer compatible with the interpretation of the customs tariff of Kosovo, by reason of amendments to the rules for tariff classification of goods in accordance with Article 24 (6);

Where it is revoked or amended in accordance with Article 15, provided that the revocation or amendment is notified to the holder.

  • The date on which binding information ceases to be valid for the cases cited in (i) and (ii) will be the date of application of the said measures.
  1. In the case of origin information where:
  2. Legal provisions are adopted or an agreement is concluded by Kosovo and the information no longer conforms to those provisions;
  3. It is no longer compatible with the explanatory notes and opinions adopted for the purposes of interpreting the origin rules;

It is revoked or amended in accordance with Article 15, provided that the holder has been informed in advance.

The holder of binding information which ceases to be valid may still use that information for a period of six months from the date of publication or notification, provided that the holder concluded binding contracts for the purchase or sale of the goods in question, on the basis of the binding information, before that measure was adopted.

The classification or determination of origin in binding information may be applied, on the conditions laid down in solely for the purpose of determining import or duties.

If more detailed information on origin of goods is required, please see pages 18 to 33 of Administrative Instruction No. 11/2009.

Advance Rulings

 

An advance ruling is a formal advice from Customs to a trader regarding how Customs will treat specified imports. In contrast to the binding rulings previously discussed, applications for advance rulings must be made, and a decision must be reached, prior to the importation of any of the goods concerned and a determination by Customs regarding those goods. Advance rulings are a proven trade facilitation tool for both importers and customs administrations. It is international “best practice” to issue advance rulings regarding the following matters:

  • The good's tariff classification [[including] the applied duty rate for the product [or, where appropriate, the way the applied duty rate for a product is calculated;
  • The appropriate method and the application of the method to be used for determining the customs value under a particular set of facts;
  • The application of requirements for duty drawback, deferral, [or other relief from customs duties;
  • The application of requirements for quotas, including tariff quotas;
  • The origin of the good;
  • The fees and charges that will be applied [[or] [and], where appropriate, information on the way such fees and charges are calculated.
  • Additional matters for which a country considers it appropriate to issue an advance ruling;]

The Customs Code of Kosovo currently does not specifically authorize advance rulings by name. However, it is Customs’ current practice to issue advance rulings regarding classification and origin matters.