Legal Aspects

This document contains a list of legal elements that should be considered prior to introducing ADP systems in Customs entry processing.  The list is not exhaustive since each country will have its own specific law requiring different changes.  However, it is imperative to review Customs laws and regulations to accommodate some or all of the components specified below.

The Kyoto Convention, Annex J. 1, specifies a number of recommendations concerning definition of legal requirements.  Further, the basis for the list is experiences in various ASYCUDA countries.

1. Legal duty/tax point

The point in time to determine rates of duty and taxes must be specified in the law and be configured accordingly in the ASYCUDA system.  This date may also be used to define the exchange rate, the time of entry to Customs warehouses and be decisive whenever a date is required to define entry under a Customs regime.  Usually the date when the entry is registered in the computer system will apply.

2. TIN number

A registration number is required by ASYCUDA.  In that respect a unique Taxpayer Identifier Number - TIN - mutually agreed with the other Government Authorities should be implemented.  A unique identification will greatly satisfy the needs for all the authorities involved, i.e. Customs, Revenue/Tax Departments, license and statistics offices.

3. New Declaration Format

In some countries Customs law sets out the exact format of the Customs Declaration.  In such cases the law must be revised to allow for the introduction of a new format.  It could be considered whether such requirement is at all necessary or an authorization could be given to the Minister to publish the format.  This would facilitate subsequent revisions of the format.

4. DTI and EDI

Legislation must include provision for lodgement of electronic declarations i.e. paperless transmission of the entry details, including diskettes and tapes.

5. Signature

When using electronic declarations the law must provide for an alternative to hand-written signatures.

6. Computer print outs

Customs declarations in the form of a print out from the computer should be legally binding for the importer/broker, thus establishing enough evidence in cases of trials between Customs and the importer/broker.

7. International standards

The ASYCUDA system will to a large extent require input of international standards and codes, e.g. for country names and currencies.  The legislation must allow for such codes and standards.

8. Use of data

Legislation should provide for the right for Customs to retain data, use it for its own purpose and to be allowed to transfer certain data to other organisations, such as the statistics office.

9. Transaction fees

When considered necessary by the Government, Customs should be authorised to collect a fee for each Customs declaration.  THe amounts collected should be earmarked to finance renewal of hardware or to compensate for the loss of income for staff moved from areas with certain extra income to the computer centers, when such income is possible.

10. Provisional lodgement

The ASYCUDA system contains a facility for pre-lodgement of declarations pending arrival of vessel or documents.  This should be allowed for in the legislation.

11. Computer fraud

The law should define fraud based on the manipulation of computers as an offence to be fined according to the usual practice in the country concerned.

12. Verification of systems

Customs should be authorised to access traders' computer systems for verification and audit purposes.  This has particular importance when using EDI transmissions.