Georgia continues to pursue a business-friendly tax and customs policy, which - along with economic reform - implies a complete harmonization of the legislation with EU standards. At this stage, work on the new Customs Code project has been completed with the participation of experts from the European Union, fully meeting the standards of the European Union.
The approach to the new Customs Code is based on the following principles: the introduction of simple and fair rules, the creation of a stable and predictable business environment, the reduction of the costs associated with foreign trade for the private sector and the introduction of even more flexible customs procedures.
As stated by Mamuka Bakhtadze, Georgia’s prime minister: “The idea of digital customs is a very ambitious project. One can say that Georgia will be one of the first countries not only in our region, but also in Eastern Europe, which will implement the digital customs of the new generation.”
The main changes of the new Customs Code include:
- A preliminary customs’ declaration may be submitted up to 200 days prior to the entry of goods into the Georgian territory and up to 150 days prior to the exit of goods from the Georgian territory;
- The concept of authorized economic operator will be introduced;
- The re-export customs procedure will be abolished. Goods designated for re-export will be declared under a simplified processing customs procedure;
- Customs duty on the import of a vehicle will be paid back to the taxpayer if the vehicle exits Georgian territory within 6 months from its entry;
- The "owner of customs procedure" will be introduced. This quality is granted to the buyer if the ownership of goods imported under the import regime is transferred to the buyer (existing legislation does not allow for the transfer of ownership on goods imported under the import regime without re-declaration);
- A simplified customs declaration may be submitted when the taxpayer pays the highest customs duty rate on import that is applicable to the goods included in the consignment stock;
- The ERP system will be linked to the database of the customs authorities; Customs authorities must notify the taxpayer before they issue a decision that may have a negative impact on the taxpayer's business. The taxpayer has the possibility to present arguments in his defense. The enforcement of the decision may be suspended during the dispute resolution process;
- Exemptions from customs duties will be granted only in specific cases, instead of granting a general exemption based on the type of goods;
The Convention on the Simplification of Formalities in Trade in Goods and the Convention on a Common Transit Procedure will be fully implemented in the Georgian legislation.
It is planned that the new Customs Code will come into force on January 1, 2019.