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Customs and excise duties in the context of coronavirus


by Maciej Woźnica

5 August 2020


The outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic forced the rapid introduction of numerous legislative changes aimed at both counteracting the development of the epidemic and the deteriorating economic situation. Among the legislative changes were those relating to customs and excise duties.


Customs duties and import VAT

The main changes involving customs duties and import VAT include a temporary exemption of protective and medical equipment from import duties and VAT based on Commission Decision (EU) 2020/491 of 3 April 2020. This exemption has been introduced in Polish law. Originally, it was to apply from 30 January (retrospectively) to 31 July 2020. However, as the epidemic was still ongoing, the European Commission decided to extend the exemption until 31 October 2020. 

Under the existing customs regulations, a number of temporary solutions were also adopted to simplify customs clearance processes for key goods to counteract the epidemic and to postpone certain deadlines related to reporting obligations or for customs authorities to issue decisions.

Excise duty

Excise duty solutions are not systemic in nature but involve rather individual reliefs targeted at certain industries, in particular e-cigarettes. They include, in particular, the following:


1. The collection of excise duty on e-cigarette liquid and innovative products has been currently postponed until 30 September 2020.

2. The obligation to affix excise stamps to e-cigarette liquid and innovative products has been postponed:

  •  until 31 December 2020 with respect to tax excise stamps,
  • until 30 April 2021 with respect to legalisation excise stamps.

3. Administrative burdens in terms of meeting the conditions qualifying for exemption from excise duty on sales by registered coal traders and related to the sale of LPG have been reduced for the duration of the epidemic or epidemic emergency.

4. The amount of excise duty payable may be reduced by the amount of excise duty paid on beer returned after its expiry date and destroyed – the reduction can be made until 31 December 2020 with respect to beer returned and destroyed by 31 July 2020.

The above solutions are strictly technical and temporary. Due to the dynamically changing epidemiological situation, further adjustments can be expected. However, it is unlikely that any deeper systemic solutions will be developed in the near future.

We would be glad to answer any questions you may have regarding this topic. You are welcome to contact our experts. 


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Tadeusz Piekłowski

Customs agent (Poland)

Senior Associate

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