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Austria (Last updated: 23/03/2020)

COVID-19 also has consequences for foreign trade.

This entry was updated on 23 March 2020 and reflects the information currently available to us.


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Croatia (Last updated: 17/04/2020)

- VAT exemption is prescribed for the supply of goods and services without consideration (donations) for the purpose of combat against the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, until the expiration of three-month period, starting 20 March 2020. The exemption is applicable starting with VAT liability that is due after 20 March 2020. Currently not further details are available.

- Exemption from VAT and customs is prescribed on the final import of certain goods for the combat against the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. The list of goods, deadlines and the conditions are prescribed within the “COMMISSION DECISION (EU) 2020/491 of 3 April 2020 on relief from import duties and VAT exemption on importation granted for goods needed to combat the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak during 2020.”

- In general, the importers are obliged to pay VAT on import regardless if they have right to deduct this VAT or not. As a new measure the importers, taxable persons registered for VAT do not have to pay VAT on imported goods. Instead the VAT is declared in the VAT return. As a result, there is not actual payment (cash flow), since at the same time in the VAT return the input VAT is declared if taxpayer is entitled to VAT deduction. This measure also applies until the expiration of the three-month period from 20 March 2020.

- Taxpayers affected by COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. taxpayers fulfilling certain criteria as for example drop in revenue for more than 20% comparing to the same month in the previous year) who declare and pay VAT on the accrual basis are entitled to pay VAT as if they were using cash accounting scheme. This measure allows taxpayers that are declaring and paying VAT on the accrual basis to postpone payment of VAT until they collect declared VAT from their buyers.  In other words, VAT liability which payment may be postponed, must arise from issued invoices that are not paid by buyers taking into consideration unpaid bills from vendors.


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Czech Republic (Last updated: 16/04/2020)

Update 16/04/2020

The Ministry of Finance has not extended the deadline for the submission of VAT reports or payment of VAT liability as such. In terms of VAT, the following measures apply:

A general waiver of the CZK 1,000 penalty for failure to submit a control statement, only if the liability to settle such a penalty arises in the period from 1 March 2020 to 31 July 2020.

If the VAT payer is able to prove the failure is in any way related to the COVID-19 outbreak (typically an illness or quarantine of accountants or other key employees whose absence made it impossible to fulfil VAT obligations; a substantial drop in revenues due to the outbreak), the following measures apply:

- A waiver of the late payment interest.

- A waiver of the interest connected to the deferral of VAT payment or VAT payment instalment schedule.

- An automatic waiver of the sanction for the late submission of the VAT return if the tax office grants one of the two above waivers as well.

- A waiver of other sanctions for the late submission of the control statement (all sanctions from CZK 10,000 to CZK 50,000). This applies to cases when the appeal is issued within the period of 1 March 2020 to 31 July 2020.

- A general waiver of administrative fees for the filing of the respective requests.

All sanctions can be waived only after the related VAT liability is paid and the respective control statement(s) are submitted.

On 3 April 2020, the European Commission issued a decision allowing Member States to exempt medical supplies and equipment related to COVID-19 from import duties and VAT.

In this context, the customs authorities have published the conditions under which the exemption will be recognized.

In order to be exempt from customs duties, medical supplies must be imported by a government or other charitable or philanthropic organization with the purpose of distributing them free of charge to persons in need. Furthermore, the acquisition of goods free of charge from a third-party country is also subject to a VAT exemption. Should the goods be paid for, however, the import VAT exemption cannot be granted, irrespective of the status of the importing entity.

Please see further information here:


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Estonia (Last updated: 20/03/2020)

Update 09/04/2020 

The Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB) has launched a website for frequently asked questions (FAQ). 

Furthermore, on 7 April Estonian tax authorities have announced that customs duties and VAT are temporarily waived on the import of certain medical equipment from non-EU countries  in accordance with the recent decision adopted by the European Commission (. Please note that the tax exemption does not apply to medical equipment, which is imported by private businesses (or individuals) for the purpose of private use or re-selling.

For further information, please contact

Germany (Last updated: 23/04/2020)

Announcements of the General Customs Directorate

The Federal Ministry of Finance has instructed the main customs offices to provide appropriate assistance to taxpayers where the relevant duties are regulated under federal law and administered by the customs administration (e.g. energy tax and air traffic tax). The intention is to prevent the taxpayer suffering undue hardship. In accordance with the Ministry circular of 19 March 2020, measures are to include in particular deferral options, the postponement of enforcement and the reduction of advance payments.

Further information is available here:

For further information please contact

Ireland (Last updated: 20/05/2020)

Update 20/05/2020

Update from the local tax authority can be found here 

Update 09/04/2020

Today (8 April 2020), Revenue confirmed that it has implemented an EU Commission decision that allows goods to combat COVID-19 to be imported, from outside the EU, free of import duties and VAT.

For further information, please contact

Italy (Last updated: 26/05/2020)

Update 26/05/2020

"Decreto Rilancio" (n. 34/2020) . 

Article 123 - Cancellation of the safeguard clauses regarding VAT and excise duties

Via the legislative provisions at issue, the safeguard clauses which should have introduced a number of automatic increases in (i) the VAT rates and (ii) excise duty rates on certain fuel products starting from 1 January 2021, have been definitively cancelled.

Therefore, standard VAT rate (22%) and reduced VAT rate (10%) will not change.

Article 129 - Electricity and gas excise duty advance payments

The advance payment of excise duties on electricity and gas is due in 1/12 of the excise duty invoiced in the previous FY. The advance payment for May to September 2020 will be due only for 90% of the above amount. The excise duty due for FY20, to be paid in March 2021, can be paid by 10 installments, from March to December, without interest. The deadline for the payment of the excise duty due on electricity for May 2020 is postponed to May 20, 2020.


Article 130 - Postponement of excise duty accomplishment

Some excise duty accomplishments were postponed.

In particular:

(a) the mandatory excise duty authorization for warehouse of excise duty paid energy products having capacity between 10 and 25 mc and from 5 to 10 mc equipped with dispenser is postponed to 1 January 2021;

(b) postponement to 1 October 2020 of the introduction of specific reference for EU supply of lubricant oil;

(c) postponement to 31 December 2020 of IT system for transport and detention of fuel and diesel fuel for warehouse having a capacity higher than 3.000 mc;

(d) postponement to 31 December 2020 of the electronic transport document for fuel and diesel fuel for which excise duty was already paid;

(e) postponement to 30 September 2020 of the implementing Decree in relation to submission of data concerning electricity and gas transported and invoiced to final customers.

Article 131 - Postponement of excise duty payments

The payment of the excise duty for the energetic products released for consumption during March 2020 can be done by May 2020, 25 without penalties or interests.

Article 132 - Energetic products excise duty payments

The payment of the excise duty for the energetic products released for consumption during April-August 2020 can be done for the 80% of the amount due as advance payment while the remaining amount will be due by 16 November 2020 without interests.

The advance payment is due according to the following deadline:

-       by May 25 for the products realised for consumption in April;

-       according to the ordinary deadline for the products realised during May, June, July and August.

Article 161 - Postponement of customs duties and import VAT payments

This provision has the aim to postpone for 60 days the payment of import VAT and customs duties for which the deadline is between May 1 and July 31, 2020. No penalties nor interests will be applied.

Article 162 - Excise duty payment by installment

Payment by installment of the excise duty, in case of economic difficulties, for the warehouse keeper of energetic and alcoholic products is immediately applicable.


Article 163 - Postponement of tobacco payments for VAT and excise duty

The payment of the excise duty and VAT due on tobacco and related products for the months from April to May 2020 will be due on 31 October 2020.

Update 23/03/2020

On March 19, 2020, the Italian Customs Authorities provided operative instructions related to the following:
1) export of personal protective equipment;
2) import of goods to be used in order to face the COVID-19 emergency under relief from customs duties and VAT.
With reference to the first point, the Customs Authorities list the tariff codes (i.e. the Combined Nomenclature codes) for the personal protective equipment as, for example, visors, masks, gloves, etc. whose export is subject, from March 15, 2020, to a specific authorization, as provided by EU Reg. 2020/402. The above-mentioned authorization is released by the Office X of the DG for the international trade Policy. The Customs Authorities specify that, in the box 44 of the SAD, it should be reported the code CO86, related to the goods for which the EU Reg. 2020/402 should be applied.
As to the second point, the Customs Authorities clarified that, in the light of the art. 57 of the EU Reg. 1186/2009, instruments and apparatus intended for medical research, establishing medical diagnoses or carrying out medical treatments which are donated either by a charitable or philanthropic organization or by a private individual to health authorities, hospital departments or medical research institutions, approved by the competent authorities of the Member States are admitted free of import duties. This is applicable also in case the above-mentioned instruments and apparatus are purchased directly by health authorities, hospitals or medical research institutions entirely with funds donated by a charitable or philanthropic organization or with voluntary contributions, provided that: (a) the donation of the instruments or apparatus does not conceal any commercial intent from the donor; b) the donor is in no way connected with the manufacturer of the instruments or apparatus for which the relief is requested.
Moreover, the Customs Authorities clarify that, in this case, the VAT, normally due for the importations, could not be charged if the goods have been donated by public entities or recognized organization or foundations with the sole purposes of assistance, charitable, education, study and research activities or if the goods have been donated in favor of populations affected by natural disasters or catastrophes.   All the other importations of goods, carried out by State entities or with charitable or philanthropic purposes, necessary to face the current emergency situation, could be performed under customs duties and VAT relief, provided these subjects are authorized by the Customs Authorities, as provided by the special customs and VAT regime for the imports of goods in favor of disaster’ victims.
In the same way, prior authorization of the Customs Authorities, also the importation of goods, carried out by authorities or entities, aimed to face the COVID19 emergency, are exempted from customs duties and VAT, if qualified as donations received in the context of international relations between public authorities or by entities that perform functions of public interest.
From a practical point of view, in the customs bills of import, in the box 37, after the code 40, indicating the definitive importation, the following codes will be reported: C17, C26 and C28, as provided by the EU Reg. 2016/341. Moreover, in order to speed up the customs clearance procedures, it will be possible to give evidence of the specific destination of the goods, reporting in the box 22 of the customs bills the additional code 17YY.

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Netherlands (Last updated: 03/06/2020)

Update 03/06/2020

Deferment of customs duties

In March 2020, as a response to the financial difficulties companies face due to the corona crisis, Dutch Customs announced that they can grant deferment of customs duties for importing companies upon request. The deferment would apply until the 15th day of the month following the month in which the installed measures to deal with the coronavirus are terminated. Not exactly clear was what these "installed measures" mean.

Update 07/05/2020

Practical issues with REX statements including approach by Dutch Customs.

The Registered Exporter (REX) system was introduced by the EU in 2017 to prove the preferential origin of goods under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP), and replaced the 'Form A' certificates that were issued by the competent authorities in the exporting countries and introduced a system of self-certification.

Because of a rather strict approach by Dutch Customs towards the requirements surrounding the statements of origin under REX, we encourage companies to review the current statements they receive from their suppliers - especially in the situations described above. Please see below our latest news item for more information.

Update 07/04/2020

The latest update on the Dutch customs measures can be found here

For more information please contact

Update 03/04/2020

The Dutch government has just confirmed officially that the payment extension rules have been simplified further and the policy has now been extended to taxes falling due in the period until and including June 18, 2020. It now also applies to lottery tax, excise duties, soda tax (verbruiksbelasting), insurance premium tax, energy tax and other environmental taxes.

Update 27/03/2020

On 26 March 2020, the Dutch customs authorities have officially announced a package of measures to support companies which are facing challenges due to the coronavirus epidemic. Affected businesses can be granted more time to pay their duties, penalties are eased and tailormade solutions will be made available regarding legal terms and licenses.

Deferred payment

- The Dutch customs authorities will grant companies deferment of payment of import duties. A company needs to file a formal request if it wants to defer the payment. The deferment will ultimately apply until the 15th day of the month following the month in which the installed measures to deal with the Coronavirus are terminated.

- Payments of customs duties are generally made by your logistic service provider after which the duties are charged on to the company for whom the service is provided for. In order to be able to make use of the deferment, timely execution of precautions is advised. Reach out to your logistic service provider as soon as possible to discuss next steps and align on the best approach.

- Deferment of payment of excise duties and consumption tax can be requested after the (excise) tax assessment (‘naheffingsaanslag’) is issued.

Penalties and fines

- The Dutch customs authorities will take on a flexible approach in dealing with companies who are not able to comply with customs obligations in time if this is caused by the Corona crisis.

- If no violations or criminal acts and/or no intent or blame is in play, no penalties will be imposed.

Legal terms

- The Dutch customs authorities will provide tailored solutions for companies that cannot comply with strict legal deadlines (f.e. the submitting of the supplementary declaration).

- File applications for repayment or objections in a pro-forma manner (i.e. without detailed information on why the request is filed). In case of exceeding of the legal term the special circumstances will be taken into consideration and one will be allowed to further substantiate the request / appeal at a later stage.

- Non-compliance in legal terms in relation to transit procedures resulting from installed measures necessary to deal with the Corona virus will be regarded as acceptable failure to comply with the time limit. 


- The Dutch customs authorities will provide tailored solutions for companies that cannot comply with financial solvency requirements in relation to their AEO-status, the appointment of the customs representative or the reduction or exemption of the guarantee on the basis of the comprehensive guarantee authorization.

- The terms for pending license applications which cannot be completed in time as a result of the Coronavirus shall be suspended (in case of electronic filing one is asked to report the delay themselves).

Practical points of interest and next steps
At PwC we see opportunities for companies to cope with problems they are facing as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. This package of measures installed by the Dutch customs authorities endorse the willingness of the Dutch government to assist companies in these challenging times. On another note application of these measures in practice will prove to be a big challenge. Align with your business associates to make sure all necessary precautions are taken into consideration. 

Update 23/03/2020

Dutch Customs has announced a further postponement of the implementation of the new exporter definition, due to the COVID-19-crisis. So far, it is an informal notification, but we shortly expect an official publication.

On 20 March the Dutch tax authorities announced as of then a generic three month extension of the payment deadline for all taxpayers in respect of corporate and personal income tax, VAT and wage taxes. This extension still needs to be obtained through a written request. Longer extensions are possible, but in that case indeed the evidence as mentioned in our 18 March 2020 update needs to be provided, for which further details will be published later. More information can be found here:

Update 20/03/2020

On 14 March 2020 a Regulation was published that an export license is required for certain protective equipment (e.g. face shields, mouth - nose-protection equipment, gloves, protective garments, protective spectacles & visors).

Update 17/03/2020

Import VAT deferment
When you import goods on a regular basis, it is possible to apply for import VAT deferment, whereby the payment of import VAT is shifted indefinitely to the VAT return and import VAT is no longer due upon customs clearance at the border. Please note that this does not apply for any import duties due.


Spain (Last updated: 31/03/2020)

Update 31/03/2020
On Friday 27 March 2020, the Customs and Excise Duties Department published an Informative Note whereby it gives certain instructions derived from the "State of Alarm" declared by the Spanish Government last 14 March 2020. The duration of these instructions will be fully linked to the duration of the "State of Alarm". In brief, the main purpose of this informative note is to simplify formal requirements (removal of the standard authorisation by the Spanish Drugs and Sanitary Products Agency under certain conditions) for the importation of protection goods  such as face masks, boots, gloves or personal protection equipments. 
For more information please contact

Rest of Europe

Georgia (Last updated: 12/05/2020)

The import and supply of the following goods become exempt from VAT without right to credit until 1 October 2020: protective shields; show covers; gloves; insulating overalls; medical gowns; sets of medical gowns, hats and show covers; plastic goggles; masks; contactless thermometers.

Customs clearance deadline for the vehicles brought into the Georgian territory before 1 April were deferred until 1 September

For further information please contact

Kazakhstan (Last updated: 23/04/2020)

Update 20/04/2020

 Further customs measures taken by the Eurasian Economic Commission (“EEC”) due to COVID-19:

- a list of important imported goods for which exemption from customs duties applies has been established (Decree of the EEC Consilium, 3 April 2020 No. 33). The exemption applies for the period 1 April to 30 June 2020. The list includes a number of vegetables, cereals, ready-to-eat products for children, ingredients for production of maternal milk, juices, medicines, certain medical products, thermometers and disinfectors. An exemption is obtained through execution of a customs clearance declaration using the procedure of “release for domestic consumption” before 30 June.

- a prohibition on the export of certain food products up to 30 June 2020 was introduced (Decree of the EEC Board, 31 March 2020 No. 43). The list includes certain vegetables, cereals, soybeans, sunflower seeds, ready-to-eat products from buckwheat. The prohibition does not apply to rice produced in Kazakhstan, goods for humanitarian aid carried by individuals for personal use.

- the procedure for providing a certificate of origin of goods of form “A” to enjoy preferences when importing goods from developing and least developed countries was changed (Decree of the EEC Concilium, 3 April 2020 No. 36). To obtain benefits, a copy of the certificate must be submitted with the obligation to provide the original within six months.

Please click here to see the news alert.

For further information please contact

Moldova (Last updated: 02/04/2020)

The deadline for review of the customs infringements or appeals submitted during the emergency period has been extended until 29 May 2020

Norway (Last updated: 12/03/2020)

Update 12/03/2020

The Norwegian Government did not introduce any measures impacting VAT or customs reporting or payment in Norway through its press release today. However, the air passenger duty will be abolished for flights taking effect from 1 January 2020 - 31 October 2020. All airport related duties in Norway will also be abolished till 30 June 2020. There are also several measures with respect to Corporate Income Tax.

For more information please contact

Switzerland (Last updated: 03/04/2020)

The latest update from the Swiss Federal Customs Administration can be found here


UK (Last updated: 30/07/2020)

Update 30/07/2020

The UK has announced the extension of import duty and VAT reliefs on protective equipment, and certain medical devices and equipment brought into the UK from non-EU countries during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The goods must be imported by or on behalf of UK based state organisations, including state bodies, public bodies and other bodies governed by public law, and other charitable or philanthropic organisations approved by the competent authorities.

Please see HMRC's updated guidance for further details

Update 19/05/2020

The tax authority, HMRC, has provided some further clarification on the items of PPE which qualify for VAT zero rating during the coronavirus pandemic, and has also clarified how bad debt relief (BDR) will operate in relation to supplies accounted for on VAT returns where payment to HMRC has been deferred.

HMRC has published UK tariffs from 1 January 2021, which provides details on what the tariff applies to, how to check the tariff, and tariff relief on some goods for tackling coronavirus (COVID-19).


The HMRC clarification was included in notes of a recent meeting with members of the accountancy profession. The information on PPE reads as follows:

“The temporary VAT zero rate will apply to all supplies of PPE which are made between 1 May and 31 July 2020 and which are recommended for use by Public Health England in its guidance dated 24 April 2020 titled ‘Guidance, COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)’. The relevant Public Health England guidance can be found here:

This guidance is also referenced in the three HMRC documents that are in the public domain and listed below.

Also, the relevant customs commodity codes for items covered by this relief, can be found in the VATHLT2021 guidance.

Guidance VATHLT -

Updated VAT Notice 701/57 -

New Revenue and Customs Brief 4 (2020): temporary VAT zero rating of personal protective equipment (PPE) -


Update 09/04/2020

Please see the latest customs update from HMRC on this website

For more information please contact



Middle East

Jordan (Last updated: 29/04/2020)

Update 29/04/2020

The Income and Sales Tax Department has extended the filing deadline for sales tax returns for the period of January and February 2020 to 30 April 2020 (originally 28 March 2020), with no penalties and interest imposed.

The following measures in relation to customs have been introduced: 

- Reduction in the the regulatory procedures related to the importation of goods;

- Decrease in the percentage of goods being inspected for local use;

- Limit to the applicable controls related to goods in transit; 

- Adjustment of the the grace period fees and cooling charges due at the Aqaba Port; and 

- Approval for all companies listed on the Golden and Silver Importers List of the Jordanian Customs’ Department to pay their customs duties in installments (being 30% of the amount due upfront and the remaining 70% at a later date), provided that these companies are not subject to any violations.

Oman (Last updated: 29/04/2020)

Update 29/04/2020

As of April 6: Royal Oman Police represented by the Directorate General of Customs in cooperation with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced that:

  • Documents accompanying the goods will be considered original documents without collecting the guarantee stipulated in Clause (9) of Article (1) of Customs Decision No. 38/2017 and Customs Circular No. 37/2017.

  • Product authentication labels (including country of origin) will be accepted in case the certificate of origin cannot be submitted

Update 16/04/2020

Royal Oman Police represented by the Directorate General of Customs in cooperation with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced that:

- Documents accompanying the goods will be considered original documents without collecting the guarantee stipulated in Clause (9) of Article (1) of Customs Decision No. 38/2017 and Customs Circular No. 37/2017.

- Product authentication labels (including country of origin) will be accepted in case the certificate of origin cannot be submitted

For more information please contact 

Palestine (Last updated: 29/04/2020)

Update 29/04/2020

As of March 25: West Bank (VAT): The Minister of Finance has announced the following measures effective immediately:

  • Suspension on the issuance of late filing penalties in respect of the submission of monthly VAT returns during the emergency period.

  • The validity of clearance certificates issued by the VAT Department that expired on 1 March 2020 are automatically extended to 15 April 2020; and

  • The postponement of all procedures by the tax authority regarding pending assessments, objections and appeals until the end of the emergency period.

As of March 25: West Bank (Customs): The Minister of Finance has announced the following measures effective immediately:

  • The postponement of all procedures by the tax authority regarding pending assessments, audits, objections and appeals until the end of the emergency period.

Qatar (Last updated: 07/04/2020)

The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management has announced an exemption from
customs duties for food and medical goods for a period of six months for the following
- Hospitality and tourism;
- Retail;
- Small and medium sized industries; and
- Commercial complexes in exchange for providing services.

For more information please contact

Saudi Arabia (Last updated: 22/06/2020)

Update 22/06/2020

Saudi Customs has published the new list of goods affected by the customs duty increase, along with their corresponding new rates. The list is available on the Saudi Customs website and can be accessed at the following link:
Saudi Customs also indicates on its website that the new rates are applicable as of June 20th, 2020.

Update 11/06/2020

Based on a confirmation issued by Saudi Customs on its official Twitter account on the 10th of June, the application of the increased customs duty rates has been put on hold. 
Saudi Customs stated that the new date of application and the targeted goods will be announced in due course. 
Further information to follow.
Update 31/05/2020

The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (‘KSA’) has announced an increase in the customs duty rates for an extensive range of goods, including foodstuff, mineral and chemical products, plastic, rubber, leather goods, textile and footwear, base metals (e.g. steel, iron, nickel, copper, aluminium), cement, ceramic, machinery, equipment and electrical equipment, toys, furniture, vehicles and various other manufactured goods. The measure affects a total of 57 Chapters and more than 2,000 Tariff Lines of the KSA Integrated Customs Tariff. The announced increase in customs duty rates would be applicable from June 10, 2020 onwards.

Please see follow this link for further information.

Update 23/03/2020
These measures include, amongst many others:
- postponing the payment of VAT, excise, Zakat and income tax for 3 months
- postponing the payment of customs duties for 30 days, with the possibility of extending the postponement period beyond 30 days for the most affected sectors as needed
- postponing the payment of some government services fees and municipal fees for 3 months, with the possibility of extending the postponement period beyond 30 days for the most affected sectors
For more information please contact

UAE (Last updated: 17/03/2020)

On 19 March 2020, Dubai Customs issued Customs Notice No. 1/2020 on the implementation of the Government's Economic Stimulus Package, a set of measures introduced to reduce the cost of doing business and boosting Dubai’s trade sector and local economy. One of the key measures introduced is a 20% refund of the customs duty paid on goods imported and sold locally in the UAE that are subject to the 5% standard customs duty rate. The refund is applicable to imports declared to Dubai Customs between 15 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. Other measures include the refund or cancellation of the AED 50,000 bank or cash guarantee for customs brokers and clearing companies.
For more information please contact

Asia Pacific

India (Last updated: 16/04/2020)

Update 16/04/2020
In a recent ruling, the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) in the State of Rajasthan held that consideration paid to the directors of a company by way of salary and commission, was liable to GST under the reverse charge mechanism. This ruling is important since many taxpayers have taken a position that such services should be treated as services rendered by an employee to the employer and not subject to GST, per Schedule III of the CGST Act, although the AAR does not provide any specific reason for the transaction to be excluded from Schedule III, i.e. as services provided in the course of employment.
Update 06/04/2020
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) recently issued notifications and circulars giving effect to the relief measures announced by the Finance Minister in view of COVID-19. While there is no extension of due dates for filing Form GSTR 3B for February 2020 to April 2020, and Form GSTR 1 for March 2020 to May 2020, the CBIC has notified the waiver of late fees and the benefit of a reduced rate of interest for delayed payment of tax. In addition, the due dates for filing Form GSTR 3B for February to April 2020 will be extended to 30 June 2020 for taxpayers having aggregate turnover up to INR 50m, and interest, late fees and penalties will be waived.
Update 02/04/2020
Customs measures: 

- Nodal Officer of Custom notified on all India basis to be contacted for any clearance related problems

- 24 X7 helpdesk and customs clearances

- Waiver of late fee charges on delayed filing of Bills of Entry

- Finalization of prior and advance Bill of Entry, amendment and delivery of Bill of Entry for cleared goods by email

- Endorsement and acknowledgement over emails

- Warehousing permission without demurrage charges for cargo where importer is facing difficulties in clearances

- Last date for filing of appeal, refund applications etc. extended to 30 June 2020 for cases falling in specified period (20 March 2020 to 29 June 2020)
Update 01/04/2020
Service Exports from India Scheme
-  The last date of filing Service Exports from India Scheme for 2018-19 stands
extended to 31 December 2020.
- The eligible service categories and the rate of reward for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 will be notified separately.
- For the services rendered from 1 April 2020, the decision on continuation of scheme will be taken later.
Update 01/04/2020
Service Exports from India Scheme
-  The last date of filing Service Exports from India Scheme for 2018-19 stands
extended to 31 December 2020.
- The eligible service categories and the rate of reward for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 will be notified separately.
- For the services rendered from 1 April 2020, the decision on continuation of scheme will be taken later.
Update 25/03/2020

The due date for payment of tax and filing Form GSTR 3B for the months of March to May 2020 has been extended to 30 June 2020 for taxpayers having an aggregate turnover up to INR 50m; interest, late fee and penalty has also been waived.
For other taxpayers, a reduced rate of interest at 9% per annum would be charged 15 days after the due date of payment of tax and filing of Form GCTR 3B, although the applicable late fee and penalty would be waived.
Due dates (under the CGST Act, Customs Act and other allied laws) falling between 20 March 2020 to 29 March 2020 have also been extended to 30 June 2020 for the following events:
─ issue of notices, notifications, approval orders, sanction orders;

─ filing of appeals;

─ furnishing of returns, statements, applications, reports;

─ any other documents not specified above.

The due date for payments under the Sabka Vishwas Scheme has been extended to 30 June 2020 from 31 March 2020. Interest on this period will be waived if payment is made by 30 June 2020.
Customs clearances to be undertaken around the clock until 30 June 2020, for which a notification has already been issued.
The due date for filing GST annual returns of FY 18-19 has been extended to 30 June 2020 for which a notification has already been issued.

Update 23/03/2020
Customs duty
  • 24*7 Customs clearances introduced at all Customs formations to help cope with supply chain disruptions 
  • Export policy revised making surgical masks/ disposal masks ( except 2/3 ply masks), ventilators and textile raw material for masks and coverall prohibited for exports.  
  • Relaxations provided to personnel working in demarcated Customs free zones such as Software Technology Parks of India (STPIs), Export Oriented Units (EOUs), SEZ (Special Economic Zones) in accordance with the governing policies and regulations.
  • Deferment of proposed tamper proof e-sealing of goods procedures for movement into and from a Custom Bonded Warehouse. The new procedure was to be operationalized by 15 March 2020. However, the same has been deferred to 30 April 2020. 
  • Major Customs Houses have issued Public Notices regarding waiver of late fee for delayed filing of Bills of Entry for goods imported from China, due to non availability of import documents
  • Recognizing the need for support to those engaged in exports/ imports - a dedicated help desk has been set up for Export/ Import related issue resolution.
Compliance deadlines
  • Deferment of E-invoicing requirements - The dates for implementation of e-invoicing requirements extended to 1 October 2020. Further, specific classes of registered persons (insurance companies, banking companies, financial institutions, NBFSc, Transporters) to be exempted from e-invoicing requirements.
  • Annual Return - Due date for filing Annual Return/ Reconciliation Statement for financial year 2018-19 to be extended to 30 June 2020. Certain relaxations have also been proposed for taxpayers with aggregate turnover below prescribed threshold.
  • Appellate authorities such as Tax Tribunals including regional benches have been suspended. Only urgent matters will be heard in exceptional cases.
Other than the above, the Prime Minister has announced a one day nationwide curfew on 22 March and mandatory work from home for Private Companies as well as urged further self-quarantine related precautions. Thus, we are expecting more trade facilitation measures from an Indirect tax perspective over the next few days.
For more information please contact

Indonesia (Last updated: 12/05/2020)

Update 12/05/2020

To protect the public, the government has waived import restrictions applied on certain products such as 1. masks, thermometers and other personal protective equipment. In addition; 2. onions and garlic; and 3. second hand goods under HS Code 9019.20.00 and 9020.00.00 (18 March - 31 May 2020 (for onion and garlic) 23 March - 30 June 2020 (for other certain products) 2 April - 30 June 2020 (for second hand goods))

Ministry of Finance gives additional days for postponement of excise payment. In common situations, the postponement is 60 days, but for the excise tape ordering document with postponement submitted from 9 April to 9 July 2020, the postponement is 90 days.

To accommodate the use of Certificate of Origin to enjoy a preferential import duty during the COVID-19 situation, the Director General of Customs and Excise exempts importers from submitting the original document during clearance process and requires them to submit it through online systems. Dates: From 30 March 2020 until further notice.

Update 14/04/2020

The Government has introduced a Regulation intended to secure national economic stability during the COVID-19 pandemic via  policy changes in the areas of taxation, government spending and financing. Please see our latest newsletter to learn more

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Japan (Last updated: 13/05/2020)

Update 13/05/2020

Extension application allowed for METI-issued licenses, and application submission can be an explanation letter on the reasons. Extension can also be applied for import tariff quota licenses and export licenses. The deadline for fulfilment of certain conditions for export licenses have also been automatically extended to 30 June 2020.  

For COVID related supplies provided free of charge (donated), duty and JCT are waived. The goods are also subject to simplified clearance.  
Customs will be flexible in extending the deadlines for delayed Certificates of Origin and security bonds for duty deferral applications.  
For COVID related supplies provided free of charge (donated), the goods are subject to simplified clearance and are duty and JCT free.

Malaysia (Last updated: 04/05/2020)

Update 04/05/2020

Following the announcement by the Government on 23 April 2020 to extend the Movement Control Order period until 12 May 2020, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) has issued an updated notice dated 29 April 2020 to inform that any penalty due to the late payment of levy or tax arising from the submission of the following returns/declarations which have a statutory submission deadline of 31 March 2020 or 30 April 2020 will be remitted in full if the payment is received on or before 31 May 2020:

- Sales Tax or Service Tax Return (Form SST-02)

- Service Tax Declaration by Person Other Than Taxable Person (Form SST-02A)

- Tourism Tax Return (Form TTx-03)

- Departure Levy Return (Form DL-02)

In addition, the RMCD has also informed that they will not take any legal action on late submission of returns/declarations which have a statutory submission deadline of 31 March 2020 or 30 April 2020.

Update 16/04/2020

Following the announcement by the Government on 10 April 2020 to extend the Movement Control Order period until 28 April 2020, a further extension of the deadline to 12 May 2020 is granted for the payment of levy or tax arising from the submission of the following returns/declarations:

- Sales or Service Tax Return, Tourism Tax Return and Departure Levy Return which have a statutory submission deadline of 31 March 2020 or 30 April 2020; and

- Imported Taxable Services Declaration which has a statutory submission deadline of 31 March 2020 or 30 April 2020.

Mongolia (Last updated: 12/05/2020)

On 9 April 2020, the Parliament of Mongolia enacted the Law on Exemption from Customs Duty and the Law on Exemption from Value Added Tax
Customs duties and VAT will not be levied on the import of diagnostic kits, drugs, medical devices, equipment, disinfectants and face masks for the purpose of treatment or diagnostic of the COVID-19.The Government shall approve the list of applicable products.

09 April:

- The Law on Exemption from Customs Duty approved on 09 April 2020.
Import of sugar, vegetable oil, all kinds of edible rice (rice, brown rice, millet, etc.), 15.0 (fifteen) thousand tons of elite seed wheat required for spring sowing in 2020 and 160.0 (one hundred and sixty) thousand tons of edible wheat required for domestic flour production are exempt from customs duty. Applicable from February 19, 2020 to June 30, 2020.

-The Law on Exemption from VAT approved on 09 April 2020.
Import of sugar, vegetable oil, all kinds of edible rice (rice, brown rice, millet, etc.), 15.0 (fifteen) thousand tons of elite seed wheat required for spring sowing in 2020 and 160.0 (one hundred and sixty) thousand tons of edible wheat required for domestic flour production, and for the purpose of promoting national production, locally produced vegetable oils are exempted from value added tax.
Applicable from February 19, 2020 to June 30, 2020.

The Government of Mongolia is to approve the list of elite wheat seeds, edible wheat, all types of edible rice (rice, brown rice, millet, etc.), sugar and vegetable oil to be exempted from customs duty and /or value added tax in accordance with the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Classification (the “HS”).

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Myanmar (Last updated: 22/04/2020)

Increased customs duty rate on alcohol In February 2020, the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MOPFI) announced and published new tariff rates for alcohol
imports under HS Heading 2208 (Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 80% vol.; spirits, liqueurs and other spirituous beverages).
The rates have been increased from 40% to 50% on all items under heading 2208, including whiskies, gin, vodka, and other spirituous beverages. The changes took effect from 1 April 2020.

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Philippines (Last updated: 12/05/2020)

Update 12/05/2020

On top of the regular customs duty, an additional 10% tax is ordered on importation of crude oil and refined petroleum products to the Philippines. The purpose of increasing tax collection is to supplement the government's fund on COVID-18 response.  

Update 07/05/2020

PwC PH Quarantine Tax Filing and/or Payment Guide can be found here

Update 06/04/2020

The importation of these products shall be exempt from value-added tax, excise tax and other fees and shall be released from the Bureau of Custom (BOC) without need of an ATRIG.

Singapore (Last updated: 12/05/2020)

Update 12/05/2020

Singapore Customs released a notice in April advising manufacturers, traders and declaring agents to adopt electronic transmission of Certificates of Origin. This includes electronic transmission of Form D via the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and electronic transmission of Preferential Certificates of Origin (PCO) bound for China under the Electronic Origin Data Exchange System (EODES).

Customs duties for certain alcohol products (mainly medicated samsu and other samsu) have been reduced to $0/L of alcohol as of 15 April 2020.

Update 07/04/2020

Latest update on Customs Duty exemptions can be found here

For more information please contact

South Korea (Last Updated: 16/06/2020)

Update 16/06/2020

Expanded Customs Audit Postponement for Companies Affected by COVID
19 Crisis
The Korean Customs Service (KCS) plans to postpone a customs audit for one year for
certain companies suffering from sharp declines in exports or operations loss due to the
COVID 19 crisis. According to the KCS, a customs audit will be suspended for the
companies engaged in the five categories of industries such as automobile (including auto
parts), aviation, shipping, oil refinery and shipbuilding as well as the companies located in
designated crisis zones (i.e. Daegu and three areas in Gyeongsangbuk-do such as
Geongsan-si, Cheongdo-gun and Bonghwa-gun) from July 2020 through June 2021
regardless of whether they would apply for the postponement of a customs audit. Also, the
KCS will suspend an audit for one year relating to small- and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs) which experienced 20% or more decline in exports or sales revenue on a year-overyear basis. In addition, the companies creating or maintaining employment can benefit from
the one year audit suspension if they submit their plans to create jobs and meet the
requirements for maintaining the number of full-time employees. In this context, the
employment of youth workers aged up to 29 will be weighted in calculating the number of
new jobs particularly for those submitting the plans to create jobs.

The suspension of a customs audit is the KCS program that temporarily suspends its audit
to relieve companies of administrative burden and costs associated with the investigation
and concentrate resources on their business activities. It has been granted to a limited
scope of companies contributing to job creations and newly incorporated SMEs, etc. The
KCS has expanded the program to cover companies suffering COVID 19 financial hardships.

Taiwan (Last updated:12/05/2020

Update 12/05/2020
Temporary reduction of general tariff rates from 20% to 10% on other undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume exceeding 90% vol under CCC 2207.1090.22.0 (only applicable to those imported as production material of medicinal alcohol - approval from Ministry of Health and Welfare need to be presented to customs), and from 10% to 0% on masks of textile materials under CCC 6307.9050.
Taiwan Customs Administration clarifies in a news release that reduction of demand from the impact of COVID 19 qualifies as a reason to apply for the extension of the 2-year maximum storage period of goods in bonded warehouse.

Thailand (Last updated: 22/04/2020)

The Ministry of Finance introduced a new notification prescribing duty exemptions for imported goods necessary for COVID-19 treatment or prevention. The duty exemptions
apply to imported respirators and surgical masks of tariff codes 6307.90.40 and 6307.90 sub-code 01. In addition, raw materials imported for the production of finished goods
of tariff codes 6307.90.40 and 6307.90.90 are also allowed duty exemptions, although certain conditions apply and pre-approval will need to be obtained. This is covered in
the Ministry of Finance Notification on Duty reduction and exemption under Section 12 of Customs Tariff Decree B.E. 2530 (No.3), which is effective from 24 March 2020 to 30
September 2020.

Electronic data submissions allowed for Single-Point-of-Payment Program (SPPP) during the COVID-19 pandemic The Single-Point-of-Payment Program (SPPP), established by the Thai Customs Department, allows importers to disclose issues of non-compliance and settle payment of tax and duty shortfalls without having to visit multiple ports of entry.

In normal circumstances, an importer who would like to join this program will need to submit their SPPP application and supporting documents in hardcopy to the Post-Audit Clearance Division (PCAD) for consideration. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, importers face difficulties in submitting hardcopy documents to the PCAD in person. To comply with the government’s social distancing policy, Customs has temporarily allowed importers to submit the SPPP application electronically.

For more information, please contact


Cape Verde (Last updated: 12/05/2020)

Law no. 88/IX/2020, of 7 May, published in the Official Gazette, establishes an extraordinary and temporary regime of incentives for the import, production and sale of medical devices, personal protective equipment and other goods, within the context of COVID-19. Specifically, the new Law establishes exemption from VAT, custom and excise duties and ecological charge, on both the import and local production of such goods.

For further information, please contact

Kenya (Last updated: 06/07/2020)

Update 06/07/2020

On 30 June 2020, the East African Community (“EAC”) Secretariat released the EAC Gazette Notice No. 10 of 2020 (“the Gazette”). The Gazette highlights changes effected by the Council of Ministers (“the Council”) to the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004 (“EACCMA”) and the East African Community Common External Tariff (“EAC CET”) with effect from 1 July 2020.
We set out herein some of the key changes affecting individual Partner States and the EAC region as a whole.

Update 20/03/2020

The Government has requested the mobile telecommunication providers and banks to waive mobile money transfer fees of a value below KES 1,000 (approximately USD 10) in an attempt to limit handling of physical banknotes and coins in an effort to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. This by extension implies a reduction in excise duty collections by the government as mobile money transfers fees attract excise duty at a rate of either 20% (for banks) or 12% for transactions through mobile phones. 

The Government has also ordered for the release to manufacturers of hand sanitizers of illegally imported ethanol for no charge - the ethanol had confiscated and held by the state pending prosecution of the importers. The manufacturers are to supply the hand sanitizers to the public for no charge. This measure implies the government forfeiting customs duty, import VAT and excise duty at a rate of upto 100% of the value of the illegally imported ethanol.

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Mozambique (Last updated: 01/05/2020)

Payment of VAT and custom duties on the importation of food commodities, medicines and other essential goods are subject to a deferral regime.

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Republic of Congo (Last updated: 16/04/2020)

Customs matters

- Facilitation and acceleration of customs clearance procedures for goods, particularly pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and essential food and hygiene products.

- Non-application of inspection fees, in accordance with the 2020 Finance Act.

- Suspension of post-clearance customs controls for a period of 3 months, starting in March, with the possibility of extension after assessment of the health emergency.

For indirect taxes and third party taxes with monthly payments, for which the company or the legal taxpayer is the collector, the deadlines for declaration and payment are maintained.

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Tunisia (Last updated: 04/05/2020)

Amnesty of customs duties for industrial companies, which were subject to customs minutes or judgments before March 20, 2020, provided to pay a fine of 10% of the amount of the said duties.

Acceleration of the tax credits refund (CIT, VAT, etc.) through set-up of weekly committees’ meetings for the examination of refund requests instead of meeting twice per month and ensuring a maximum payment period of one month.

VAT rate due on importation of products necessary for the supply, manufacture and sale of personal protection products and their inputs is reduced to 7%.

VAT Exemption of sales of pharmaceuticals by retailers and wholesalers.

All inputs related to the manufacture of personal protection products mentioned in the tables below are exempt from the payment of customs taxes as well as all other duties and taxes due to their imports.

Simplification of refund procedures related to VAT credit derived from operations, through refund without consideration of the condition of 6 months of consecutive credit, and refund the said credit within a maximum period of one month.

Suspension of delay penalties, relating to payment of taxes for a period of three months, from April 1st to June 30, 2020.Granting certificates of suspension of VAT as well as all tax certificates, for persons who are normally eligible, immediately on request without presentation of the required documents based on a commitment to later provide these.


Australia (Last updated: 12/05/2020)

Update 12/05/2020
The Government has introduced a Temporary By-Law providing tariff relief on a range of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical items. The Temporary By-Law will cover Item 57 to Schedule 4 of the Customs Tariff Act 1995 (Customs Tariff Act) provides a Free rate of customs duty for hygiene or medical products imported to treat, diagnose or prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Use of the Item and by-law will not affect other taxes and charges that may be payable on the imported goods. The goods must meet the requirements of the item to access the concessional rate of customs duty.
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New Zealand (Last updated: 13/05/2020)

Update 13/05/2020
The Government has agreed to change the Customs and Excise Regulations 1996 to allow businesses whose ability to pay duty on time has been significantly affected by COVID-19, to receive a remission or refund on interest and penalties on late duty payments. Please note, any remission and refund of penalties and interest on late duty payments would be subject to the duty payer meeting the necessary requirements. This will include: - their ability to make a duty payment, including associated levies, on time having been significantly adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak - the duty payer had made contact as soon as reasonably practicable - the duty payer has agreed an instalment plan with Customs or paid the duty in full (late payment). The new system will apply to interest and penalties arising on or after 25 March 2020, and for up to two years. However, the duration would depend on the hardship being suffered by the duty payer and would be negotiated with Customs. This assistance only applies to interest and penalties on late duty payments, the late core duty as agreed with Customs must still be paid. If you're unable to pay duty on time due to the impact of COVID-19, please contact Customs on with your client code to discuss payment options.
Update 01/05/2020
Please see PWC New Zealand's the latest publication in relation to tax and customs measures  

Update 29/04/2020

Please the latest updates on Tariff Concessions here

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North America

Canada (Last updated: 01/04/2020)

Update 01/04/2020

In brief

In a response to the World Health Organization characterization of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic, the Canadian Government, in Customs Notice 20-11 (the Notice) issued March 27 has extended deadlines for the payment of tariffs on commercial goods under section 10.1 of the Accounting for Imported Goods and Payment of Duties Regulations (the Regulations).

In the United States, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on March 20 announced that it would approve on a case-by-case basis additional days for payment of estimated duties, taxes, and fees due to the COVID-19 emergency. On March 27, CBP announced that it no longer was accepting requests for additional days for payment but that it will retain the right to allow additional days for narrow circumstances, including a physical inability to file entry or payments, due to technology outages or port closures.

CBP on March 27 and March 30 also released guidance regarding time and method of payments due.

Please see our latest newsletter on this matter

For more information please contact

USA (Last updated: 21/04/2020)

United States offers three-month tariff deferral to importers significantly affected by financial hardship.

Please see our latest news item for more information

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South America

Bolivia (Last updated: 13/05/2020)

Update 13/05/2020

On 8 May 2020, the Bolivian Tax Authorities issued Administrative Resolution 102000000010 which extends the due date of monthly tax returns and payments of February, March, April and May 2020 (with due dates on March, April, May and June 2020, respectively) to those tax obligations of June 2020 (with due date on July 2020) according to the taxpayer's last digit of the Tax ID number. The referred extension includes, among others, monthly VAT tax returns and payments.
Other relevant measures on indirect taxes include the deferral until 31 December 2020 on custom duties payment for the importation of supplies, medicines, medical devices, equipment, reagents and fever detectors, acquired or donated, related to Covid-19 and as detailed in the annex of Decree 4192.

Brazil (Last updated: 23/03/2020)

COVID-19 – Tax/customs measures to mitigate the economic impacts to companies:

On March 20, 2020, the Brazilian Government enacted the following main tax and customs measures:

(a) Extension of the due date for payment of SIMPLES NACIONAL (tax special regime for small business) for 06 (six) months regarding the period of  March, April and May 2020.


(b) Reduction to zero-rate of the Import Duty for some medical and hospital products until September 2020; 


(c) Delivery of the goods to the importer before the conclusion of customs clearance, upon request to the authority responsible for the dispatch, for importers certified as Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) in the AEO modality - Level 2 Compliance .

(d) The Ministry of Economy authorized the General Attorney of Finance (PGFN) to suspend for 90 days the following deadlines: (i) For taxpayers to present their defenses on administrative proceedings in tax assessments; (ii) For starting new charges against taxpayers; (iii) For submitting outstanding debt to debt protest before third parties; and (iv) For expelling taxpayers of installments programs of debts, due to delay of payments of installments.


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Uruguay (Last updated: 06/05/2020)

The Executive Power established a special regime for import and export of goods considered essential for health purposes. The goods listed in the resolution will be exempt from all taxes and subject to a simplified customs regime.

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