AC and OCW: the functioning of customs warehouse in Switzerland

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DA e DDA: come funziona il deposito doganale in Svizzera

Customs warehouse in Italy

The customs warehousing is necessary when the customs clearance can not be immediately disposed.

In such situation it is fundamental to deposit the goods not cleared through customs in a place where they can lay with suspended customs duties, waiting for a final destination.

The customs warehouse must be authorized by the Customs agency, which also declares the suspension of the duties.

The European relevant legislation is the Regulation (EEC) No 2913/1992, the Community Customs Code. According to the regulation, the customs warehouse permits the storage of Community and non-Community goods at different conditions.

The warehouse is authorized by the Customs agency and exposed to supervisions. It can be public or private (the last one is authorized to store only the goods of the depository).


How the customs warehouse works in Switzerland

In Switzerland the goods can be stored in duty-free warehouses where it is possible to temporarily store them without taxes imposed. Such warehouses are public but managed by privates, and they are accessible to everyone. Thus, in-transit storage allows to store the in-transit goods without paying import taxes.

The deposit on credit makes possible to pay the import taxes after the storage of the goods to be sold in the custom territory.

Basically, the goods are moved from the boarder to the duty-free warehouse under transit regime. After that, it is possible to decide whether proceed with the definitive import or the export with transit procedure.


AC, OCW and VAT warehouses

The acronym AC (Authorized Consignee) and OCW (Open Customs Warehouse) are related to specific authorizations for the customs warehousing in Switzerland. The VAT warehouse, on the other hand, is effective in Italy.

AC and OCW are warehouses on the Swiss territory authorized by the Federal Customs Administration. The goods not into free circulation can be stored here.


AC warehouse in Switzerland

The AC warehouse gives to the person concerned the status of authorized consignee, which allows him to receive the goods under transit procedure in an authorized place without exhibit them to the custom.

The goods can be stored up to 30 days in AC warehouses under customs regime.

This is possible under two conditions:

  • the applicant is settled in the European Union customs territory;
  • the applicant declares the intention to use properly the transit procedure and he satisfies the three criteria provided by the Community Customs Code (compliance, effective management of transport and commercial documents, competence and professional standards).


OCW warehouse in Switzerland

The OCW warehouses allows the depository to store foreign goods belonging to him or to third parties in the Swiss territory. Once at the border, the goods can be moved to the duty-free warehouse under transit regime without paying duties.

The goods under OCW can stay over 30 days under Customs regime with no time limits, except for:

  • goods under authorization: 6 months (art. 157 OD)
  • maintaining of Communitary category T2: goods under chapters 1-24 – 6 months
  • maintaining of Communitary category T2: other goods – 5 years.


After this step, the recipient can pay the import duties directly in the warehouse. It is also possible to open a transit procedure and pick up the goods, bringing them out of Switzerland. In this way, import duties and commercial policy measures will not be applied.

Inside an OCW warehouse some operations are allowed, such as manipulations, subdivisions, sorting, collection, change of packaging etc…


The VAT warehouse in Italy

The functioning of VAT warehousing is quite similar to CA and OCW warehousing, but it concerns the Italian territory. It allows to store the goods in a warehouse where tax suspension arrangements are effective. Such goods can not be sold inside the warehouse space. The VAT warehouse is always subordinate to a customs authorization.

The aim of this instrument is to suspend the payment of customs duties until the collection of the goods from warehouse, reducing the costs. The relevant legislation is art. 50bis of the DL 331/93, which defines in details goods and operations permitted under the VAT warehousing.


The advantages of customs warehouses

The customs warehouse in its different forms (whether it be AC, OCW or VAT) gives many advantages and facilitate the operations related to transports and trade between the member and non-member states of European Union.

The main advantages are:

  • geographical autonomy
  • flexible schedule
  • no duties

By suspending the tax regime on goods the customs warehouse lightens the fiscal burden of the user and allows him to take more time to define the final destination and the logistics of the in-transit goods. Furthermore, the duty payment deferral allows postponing of eventual loan financing, lightening the related costs.


Customs warehouse with Ansali

The customs warehouses are useful to lighten times and expenses related to international trade and international shipping. It is important to notice that customs warehouses are special mechanisms and they are regulated by strict rules. They require specific authorizations, which have to be asked by experts in this field, in order to avoid penalties and irregularities.

In Ansali we have many years of experience in customs warehouses, so we can offer you the best solutions, taking care of all the aspects related to your customs operations.


Don’t hesitate to contact us to receive further information or to ask for a price. We will answer you as soon as possible and Ansali team will come up with the best tailormade solution to your logistics needs. 

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