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The Federal Customs Service has acknowledged as illegal the failure of lower standing customs bodies to file a claim on the exaction of import duty


In October 2004, bodies responsible for the safety of road traffic and internal affairs confiscated and annulled the road registration sign and number plates of the vehicle belonging to Russian citizen Igor Vyacheslavovich Shevtsov, on the pretext that import duty on the vehicle was not paid and, consequently, the vehicle was on the territory of the Russian Federation illegally.

Therefore, Shevtsov’s private property rights were limited – he could not use or disposed of the vehicle.

One of the means for reinstating the violated right was to oblige the declarant (the person bringing the vehicle into Russia) to pay customs duty. This would be in the competence of a court pursuant to a claim filed by the customs body.

On 18.01.2005, Shevtsov applied to the customs body through which the vehicle was brought into Russia in 2004, requesting the filing of such a claim. Attorneys of the law firm “YUST” acted as the declarant’s representative in the customs body.

In his declaration, Shevtsov indicated that he acquired the vehicle in good faith, and that at the moment of purchase he was unaware of any violations of customs legislation.

In its letter of 25.01.2005, the customs body refused to satisfy Shevtsov’s application, on the grounds that nobody is entitled to use means of transport with regard to which customs procedure has not been completed.

The central Customs Administration (CCA) upheld this position of the customs body (decision of 29.04.2005) and did not file a claim for the exaction of duty.

In its decision of 16.06.2005, the Federal Customs Service (FCS) acknowledged the inaction of the customs body and the CCA as contrary to the law.

The FCS indicated that I.V. Shevtsov had no connection with the import of the vehicle, and is not the person liable to pay customs duty in accordance with acting legislation. The decisions of lower-ranking customs bodies were revoked.

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