Are the EU Member States Ready for the New Union Customs Code: Emerging Legal Issues On the National Level

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Abstract

In 2016, the European Union has launched a new and ambitious project for the future regulation of international trade in the European Union and the rules of its taxation: since the 1 May 2016, the new Union Customs Code (UCC) has entered into force. It revokes the old Community Customs Code (CCC), which was applied since 1992, and passed in the form of EU regulation sets brand-new rules for the application of Common Customs Tariff and calculation of customs duties (tariffs) in all the EU Member States. It is oriented to the creation of the paperless environment for the formalisation of international trade operations (full electronic declaration of customs procedures) and ensuring of a more uniform administration of customs duties in the tax and customs authorities of the Member States in the European Union. Therefore, the article raises and seeks to answer the problematic question whether the Member States of the European Union themselves are ready to implement these ambitious goals and does the actual practice of the Member States support that (considering the practice of the Republic of Lithuania). The research, which is based on the analysis of case law in the Republic of Lithuania (case study of recent tax disputes between the taxpayers and customs authorities that arose immediately before and after the entry into force of the UCC), leads to the conclusion that many problematic areas that may negatively impact the functioning of the new Customs Code remain and must be improved, including an adoption of new legislative solutions.

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