Import of goods to Poland through Germany – customs procedure 4200

In case of importing goods e.g. from China, an alternative to customs clearance in Poland is customs clearance in another EU country and following movement of goods to Poland. German ports, especially Hamburg, are the most popular for such purpose.

This is customs procedure with code 4200 and it constitutes the release for free circulation and simultaneous introduction on the domestic market of goods that are exempt from VAT when delivered to another Member State.

In Germany, the import of goods being afterwards the subject of an intra-Community supply of goods is exempt from VAT.  To apply this exemption, a taxpayer must register for VAT in Germany or they can also use the services of a fiscal representative in Germany. This representative will handle all customs and German VAT formalities.

In Germany, similar as in Poland,  intra-Community transfer of goods is treated in the same way as intra-Community sales of goods. Therefore, VAT exemption when importing from Germany can be used if we import the goods to Germany and then transport them from Germany to Poland.

For a Polish/registered to VAT in Poland company,  a cross-border movement will be recognized in Poland as an intra-Community acquisition of goods an declared in the VAT reports. In Germany the fiscal representative will report intra-Community transfer of goods to Poland.

The above procedure called procedure 4200 is used to maintain greater financial liquidity. Despite the increased transport costs from the German port, the importer can obtain other benefits. Moreover,

Steps of import of goods to Poland through Germany

  • a Polish importer orders goods, e.g. from China to the port of Hamburg
  • a fiscal representative is appointed in Germany
  • the fiscal representative makes a customs declaration
  • the fiscal representative completes all formalities related to VAT in Germany
  • the fiscal representative recognizes intra-Community sales of goods to Poland
  • the goods are transported to Poland
  • the Polish importer shows the intra-Community acquisition of goods in Poland

To sum up, the use of customs procedure 42 enables taxation with VAT on the sale of imported goods only in the country of destination (in the importer’s country). In short, this means that the taxpayer, being only a kind of intermediary in the transaction – making only an intra-Community supply of goods to the importer – is not exposed to the costs and complex formalities associated with classic import.

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