Dematerialization in Customs Taxation for Transparency in International Trade

Dematerialization in Customs Taxation for Transparency in International Trade

Andreia Barbosa (Universidade do Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8350-9.ch009

Abstract

Transparency is a quality that transcends many areas of law and is based on a fundamental principle that transcends the entire legal system and whose scope extends to all public and private actions to which legal relevance can be recognized. In the specific field of taxation in international trade, the importance of transparency has become proportional to the growing complexity of the terms in which cross-border trade in goods takes place. In deed, the more complex the exchanges are, the greater the level of control over them and the greater the degree of transparency required, both as regards the form of control and the specific terms in which transactions are performed. In any case, the requirements and effects of transparency are reflected in a digital context of dematerialization, but not, of course, of automation.
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Introduction

Transactions of goods across borders - in particular those between economic operators of the Member States of the European Union and those of third countries or territories - are subject to a wide range of legal obligations, including tax obligations - which its raison d'être, and other extremely important purposes which we will have the opportunity to explore - the promotion of the effective functioning of the single market.

In the specific field of taxation in international trade, the importance of transparency has become proportionate to the growing complexity of the terms in which cross-border trade in goods takes place. That is to say, the more complex the exchanges are, the greater the level of control over them, and the greater the degree of transparency required, both as regards the form of control and the specific terms in which transactions are performed. In any case, the requirements and effects of transparency are reflected in a digital context of dematerialization, but not, of course, of automation. There is a growing internationalization of national economies, a dizzying advance of technologies and, in particular, of communications, bringing commerce to a new dimension in which the actions of citizens and companies are globalized.

In this sense, transparency in the taxation of international trade in goods takes on a complex of meanings: on the one hand, it constitutes a right to transparency that assists all economic operators and as a duty on them, through the digitization of their procedures, comply with the customs obligations to which they are attached. It also refers to a right of the Customs Authorities to make it easier to carry out their duties through procedural dematerialization and also as a duty to which they are attached and can not adopt a modus operandi other than that resulting from customs legislation and which is directed at facilitating legitimate international trade. In a very relevant but not a developmentally appropriate sense, the freedom of conformity of tax systems within the World Trade Organization should also be shaped by the principle of transparency, with the result that States should describe the type of fiscal measure adopted, its function and objectives, its cost or benefit in terms of tax revenue and its economic evaluation in terms of effectiveness in achieving the stated objectives.

Schematically, the consequential chain in this existing domain is as follows:

  • Dematerialization → Transparency → Fostering international trade

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