“Easy free back”

Simplified procedure for the reintroduction in customs relief of the goods previously exported, as part of the sales performed using the e-commerce platforms

Prepared by Francesco Pizzo, Lorenzo Ontano e Annarita Terrone

With the Directorial Determination n. 329619 published on September 24, 2020, the Circular Letter n. 37 published on October 2, 2020 and the Directorial Determination n. 386291 published on October 31, 2020, the Italian Customs Authorities introduced a simplified procedure for the reintroduction under customs relief of the goods previously exported, as part of the sales performed using the e-commerce platforms.

The aim is to simplify the procedures for the returned goods, purchased through the use of e-commerce platforms, considering the significant increase of this kind of transactions and of the activities carried out by the Italian Customs Authorities in the management of the export and of the re-introduction of goods practices.

In the following, we will summarize the indications provided by the Italian Customs Authorities through the above-mentioned Acts.

From a regulatory perspective, the art. 203 of the EU Regulation n. 952/2013 (Union Customs Code) provides the exemption from import duties, if requested by the interested party, for goods that, after being initially exported out of the EU territory, are reintroduced, within three years, in the country from which they were exported.

According to the simplified procedure, the operators can submit a specific request in order to obtain an authorization, with an annual validity, in order to be authorized to perform the reintroductions of the goods benefitting of the customs relief.

As clarified by the Circular Letter n. 37/2020, the above-mentioned authorization would be valid for all the reintroductions of goods that will be carried out during the annual term of validity.

Therefore, the operator, using the simplified procedure, will not be required to obtain a single authorization for each operation of reintroduction of goods.

As to the procedure to be followed in order to obtain the authorization, the operator should submit a specific request towards the Italian Customs Authorities, using the form attached to the Circular Letter no. 37/2020, at the competent Customs Office in the place where the customs accounting of the company or of the third party (in case of indirect representation) is kept or is accessible.

In the application form, the operator should declare, under his own responsibility, that the company fulfils the following subjective and objective operational requirements:

  1. minimum number of 50 reintroductions of goods in customs relief, carried out in the last month;
  • possession of the authorization for the customs clearance procedure at “luogo approvato” and for “destinatario autorizzato transito“;
  • possession of an internal control system and of an electronic system for the keeping of the accounting and of the commercial records, duly described in the request, through which it is attested that the items reintroduced are the same previously exported;
  • the declarant is the same for the export and for the reintroduction procedure, with the indication of the identification data and attaching, if any, the relative mandate for a third party;
  • possession of the EORI number and of the requirements provided by the art. 39, lett. a) and b) of the EU Customs Code;
  • possession of a system able to track each item with a unique identification code, duly described and documented in the request;
  • commitment and description of the procedures in order to allow to the Customs Office to have the access to the marketplace platform, used to perform the transactions, for the purpose of the controls that will be performed by the Customs Office.

After the transmission of the request, the Italian Customs Authorities will perform specific audit activities that may consist in the analysis of the documentation provided and/or in the performance of inspections.

At the end of this phase (i.e. “fase istruttoria”), the Italian Customs Authorities will prepare a report containing a valuation related to the acceptance or the denial of the request, in the light of the verification carried out in order to ascertain the existence of the requirements listed above.

In case of acceptance of the request by the Italian Customs Authorities, the operator is included in a special register called “e-commerce RETRELIEF (Returned goods – Relief from import duty)“.

With reference to the control activity that should be carried out by the Customs Authorities, it is specified that the control activities are mainly carried out a posteriori on a quarterly basis.

Finally, after the first implementation phase, the Italian Customs Authorities recognize the access to the simplified procedure also to subjects who perform sales online without using the e-commerce platforms.

In particular, for this category of subjects, with the Directorial Determination n. 419205/2020, with the Circular Letter n. 46/2020 and, finally, with the Directorial Determination n. 435445/2020, the Italian Customs Authorities provide the relevant requirements that should be met in order to require the access to the simplified procedure and recognize a further simplification for the decision-making process phase.

Let’s Talk

For a deeper discussion, please contact:

Francesco Pizzo

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti


Lorenzo Ontano

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti

Senior Manager