Written answers

Thursday, 4 November 2010

2:00 pm

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 126: To ask the Minister for Finance the extent of a settlement figure required by Customs and Excise in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40892/10]

Photo of Brian Lenihan JnrBrian Lenihan Jnr (Minister, Department of Finance; Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the following are the circumstances of this case. On a date in May this year, 184 items of new clothing, footwear and accessories were detained and subsequently seized from a passenger (details supplied) who was stopped in the Green Channel at Dublin Airport, having arrived from Istanbul, Turkey. The duty-free and tax-free passenger baggage allowances applicable to travellers arriving from a non-Member State such as Turkey are of an upper monetary limit of €430 and are confined to importations of goods for personal use only. On examination of the goods the Customs Officer formed the opinion that their value was substantially in excess of this limit. The officer also suspected that some of the goods were of a counterfeit nature.

The goods in question were detained for further enquiry. Confirmation was subsequently obtained that a quantity were in fact counterfeit. The items in question were seized under Customs legislation as counterfeit as such items are prohibited under EU and national law.

The value of the remaining items was estimated at €4,499. While there is no evidence to suggest that these goods were counterfeit, this value was substantially in excess of the passenger baggage allowance referred to above. There were also strong indications that their importation was of a commercial rather than personal nature. These goods were seized as they had been detected in the Green channel in the possession of the passenger in question and had not been declared. The Duty and VAT liability on these goods amounted to €553.53 and €1,042.02 respectively, making a total of €1,595.55. Following receipt of representations from a solicitor on behalf of the passenger, Revenue offered return of the non-counterfeit goods on payment of €2,500. This represents Customs Duty of €553.53, VAT of €1,042.02 and a compromise penalty payment of €904.45 in lieu of retention of the goods and possible criminal proceedings.

Under Customs law a person has the right to make a claim challenging a seizure. This involves the initiation by Revenue of civil proceedings in order for a court to adjudicate on the validity of the seizure. The process requires the attendance of the claimant to give evidence at such proceedings. The representations of the individual's solicitor in this case are regarded as constituting such a claim and Revenue is in touch with her to confirm that she wishes to proceed on that basis.

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