Aspectum represented a client in a trial with St. Petersburg Customs in regards to customs fees recovery older than three years since the goods were carried through the border. Aspectum argued that customs fees older than three years are not recoverable due to current laws on statute of limitation laws and any demand from custom authorities are illegal.

The customs authorities had sent our client communication that demanded payment for customs duties older than the three-year statute-of-limitation period. At the court hearing, the customs authorities argued that the demand letter on the disputed customs fees claim were for informational purposes only and did not violate our client’s rights.

The trial and appeal courts recognized that the requirements in the demand letter sent obliged our client to make payments and were not just informational, per part 1 of article 152 of the Law on customs regulation, but presented itself as an obligation to pay customs fees.

In case of failure to comply with the deadline, the customs authorities are entitled to recover penalties on customs payments or interest in uncontested debt recovery procedures in accordance with Chapter 14 of the Customs code of the Customs Union, the 18 of the Law, including the unspent balances of advance payments, monetary pledge, excessively paid (collected) customs payments and also to take measures to ensure the recovery of customs fees in accordance with articles 155 and 156 of the Act.

The courts concluded that customs requirements to pay fees outside of three years timeframe do not meet the legal requirements (provisions of paragraph 1 of part 5 of article 150 of part 2 of article 164 of the Law) and violates the rights of our client, as it imposed an obligation on the client to pay customs fees under the threat of adverse consequences.

The Arbitration court of St.-Petersburg and Leningrad region ruled in favor of our client in case A56-92081/2015, upheld the decision of the Thirteenth arbitration court of appeal, and declared the St. Petersburg Customs prosecution invalid.