Ukraine suspends VAT and customs duties on imports for the period of martial law

Earlier this week, the Government has adopted Resolution No. 330 as of 20 March 2022 "On some issues of customs control and customs clearance of goods, including vehicles, under martial law", which targets to significantly simplify all customs formalities in order to promptly ensure the needs of Ukraine being affected by the full-scaled russian invasion ("the Resolution No. 330").

On 24 March 2022, the Parliament of Ukraine voted the respective amendments to the Customs and Tax Codes of Ukraine that make the Resolution effective and clarify its provision (see the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to the Tax Law of Ukraine and other Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Enhancement of Legislation for Martial Law Period", registered with the Parliament under No. 7190, or the "Law No. 7190"). In order to come into force, Law No. 7190 is to be signed by the President of Ukraine.

Both legal instruments provide for the suspension of import duty and VAT applied to imports of goods and vehicles, the latter are also exempt from excise duties. The customs and tax preferences are introduced for the period of martial law in Ukraine and will start to apply on 1 April 2022.

The new customs and tax regime does not apply to ethyl and other spirits, alcoholic beverages, beer, tobacco products, tobacco, industrial tobacco substitutes, cigarettes, cigarettes, cigarillos and liquids used in electronic cigarettes, as well as to imports originating in or exported from russia or any state deemed as an aggressor state or exported from occupied territory of Ukraine as provided by laws.

Law No. 7190 and Resolution No. 330 also provide for temporary suspension of non-tariff regulations which do not apply to drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, military or dual-use goods, radioactive materials, dangerous waste as well as to imports originating in or exported from russia or any state deemed as an aggressor state or exported from occupied territory of Ukraine as provided by laws.

The customs clearance will be carried out based on a preliminary customs declaration with imports to be cleared within one business hour the latest.

In order to benefit from the simplified procedure, importers should submit an application to the State Customs Service of Ukraine (SCS), which can be submitted electronically or in paper form directly at the entry points or relevant customs points. The SCS will keep a register of such applications and the persons who submitted them. Forms of preliminary customs declaration and respective application will be worked out by the SCS.

At the same time, the standard procedure for importing goods and vehicles will also apply, it is up to the importer to opt for the customs clearance regime. The customs authorities are not entitled to reject the importer's request for the simplified regime, except for the case of the refusal thereof by the importers. In the latter case resubmission of the application for the simplified procedure is precluded.

According to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the Government aims to create "the fastest customs service in the world". Previously, the Government of Ukraine adopted another Resolution No. 236 as of 9 March 2022, by which non-tariff measures were temporarily cancelled, except for export control. Resolution No.236 will be terminated due to Resolution No. 330, the Government has decided to even go further towards import duty suspension and simplifying the customs procedures.

It should be noted, however, that under the martial law, imports into Ukraine are currently subject to currency control that in fact alleviates the expected effects of the recent customs reform.

For further information please contact Asters' Partner Alexey Pustovit, Counsel Olesia Kryvetska and Associate Yelyzaveta Herasymchuk.

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