Successful appeal against the customs authority's decision to refuse to grant an export customs duty benefit

Lawyers of Pepeliaev Group’s Customs Law practice have completed a project that included appealing in the court and having the customs authority's refusal invalidated to grant an export customs duty benefit to a Russian ship owner.

This case was unique because the client, together with Pepeliaev Group, has become a ground-breaker in applying the new customs duty connected with fuel for seismic survey ships, which was introduced by Federal Law No. 72-FZ dated 1 May 2019. This law provides that the procedure for the benefit to be applied should be established by the Russian Government. However, the Government has delayed adopting the resolution. At the client's request, Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers have prepared and presented, in the framework of public discussions, amendments to the draft resolution prepared by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade. Some of these amendments provided that the law could apply retrospectively. However, this proposal has been dismissed. As a result, when the company received the customs authority's refusal to apply the benefit for the reason that there was no resolution of the Russian government, it had to appeal it in the State Commercial Court.

Based on the legal position developed by Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers which took into account previous decisions on similar matters issued by the Russian Constitutional Court and the Russian Supreme State Commercial Court, the State Commercial Court of the Primorsky Territory by its Decision dated 4 December 2019 in case No. А51-20524/2019 upheld the client’s claims and invalidated the customs authority’s refusal to grant an exemption from export tax duty. By the Resolution of the Fifth State Commercial Appeal Court dated 17 February 2020 the decision of the first instance court was left unchanged and the customs authority's appeal was dismissed.

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