On 19 April 2021, Finnish Customs introduce its new import clearance system for companies, i.e. the UTU system. From that date, Åland Island companies shall clear their international consignments in Finnish Customs’ new e-service for businesses. Companies, which are not registered for VAT, may also clear their domestic consignments electronically in Finnish Customs’ e-service from that date. The new import system also entails changes to the customs procedures between the Åland Islands and mainland Finland from 1 September 2021, when companies registered for VAT shall submit electronic declarations for their domestic shipments.
Changes to companies’ imports and exports of domestic shipments
From 19 April 2021, companies not registered for VAT may clear their domestic shipments electronically in Finnish Customs’ new e-service, instead of clearing them in the so-called ALA-system at either the service points of Åland Post or the local customs office in Mariehamn.
From 1 September 2021, companies registered for VAT importing goods from mainland Finland to Åland or from Åland to mainland Finland shall submit electronic tax border declarations in the Customs’ new e-service. From that date Åland Post will notify you of the information required for the customs clearance of shipments carried with us. Up until 1 September 2021 Åland Post will continue presenting goods carried with us to the Customs upon arrival. The presentation notification also constitutes a domestic tax border declaration.
The domestic tax border declaration which companies not registered for VAT may use from 19 April and companies registered for VAT shall use from 1 September, has a simplified content compared to import declarations for international shipments.
Imports to the Åland Islands from mainland Finland
Domestic shipments to the Åland Islands shall be customs cleared before they can be released to the receiver. As a company registered for VAT you may choose to apply a simplified two-step procedure when declaring postal and freight consignments from mainland Finland. This two-step procedure involves the importer first submitting a simplified declaration to Finnish Customs by e-mail, whereafter the goods may be released. From the day of arrival the importer shall submit a complete tax border declaration to the Finnish Customs’ system within ten days.
To make it easier for you, and to speed up the delivery of your goods, Åland Post will submit a simplified declaration on your behalf for all domestic postal and freight shipments carried with us. This is done without any extra charges for you.
Exports from the Åland Islands to mainland Finland
Consignments sent by companies from Åland to mainland Finland are also to be cleared through the new Finnish Customs’ system. According to Finnish Customs, the tax border declaration is to be submitted prior to the consignment leaving the Åland Islands.
Changes to companies’ imports of international shipments from 19 April 2021
Shipments sent from other EU countries or countries outside of the EU to Åland companies shall be cleared in the new e-service of Finnish Customs from 19 April 2021. According to Finnish Customs, the simplified two-step procedure, that companies registered for VAT can already use when importing consignments from other EU countries, will continue unchanged until at least the spring of 2022. A two-step procedure may also be applied for postal shipments from other EU countries from June 2021. The two-step procedure for EU consignments means that those consignments can be released to the receiver after submission of a transport document or other document to the Customs authorities upon arrival. The importer then has a period of ten days in which to submit an electronic import declaration in the UTU system.
Åland Post will submit simplified declarations for postal and freight shipments sent from other EU countries and carried with us. This is done on behalf of the importer free of charge, in order to be able to deliver the goods more swiftly.
How can we assist you and your company with the customs clearance of your shipments?
Simplified declarations free of charge – swift delivery
To make it easier for you, and to speed up the delivery of the consignment, Åland Post will submit a simplified declaration on your behalf upon its arrival, provided that we have the information required by Finnish Customs. We collect this information when the delivery is booked, or ask the carrier or postal operator dispatching it to collect and provide us with the information. If any information is missing, we will contact you when the goods arrive.
At this stage Åland Post will not charge you any additional fee for the simplified declaration. When the consignment arrives, Åland Post will notify you of the reference number and other details of the simplified declaration, so that you can include them in the final, electronic declaration and in your book-keeping.
Final declaration of the shipment
Åland Post can act as an agent for your company and submit the electronic declarations to Finnish Customs for both incoming and outgoing domestic and international consignments.
Incoming shipments in Åland Posts’ Customer Portal
Our new Customer Portal service Incoming shipments is currently being developed. When it is launched, you will be able to overview all your arriving and received shipments and whether they have been customs cleared or not. You as importer may also check the shipment information for the simplified and final declarations. This allows you to fulfil your obligations to ensure that the information submitted in the declarations to Finnish Customs is correct. You may yourself choose which document to attach to the final domestic tax border declaration, as you as importer must ensure that the document meets the requirements of Finnish Customs and Tax Administration that the document shall be able to connect to a transaction in you book-keeping. This is important as the tax border declaration is a pre-requisite for deducting import VAT.
Incoming shipments assists you in your internal control and tracking between delivery, customs clearance and book-keeping for example by way of allowing you to export reports on received shipments during a specific period of time and to enter your own internal references.
Do you have any questions?
Questions about customs processing by Åland Post? Contact Åland Post’s Customs clearance department by phone at +358 18 636727 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about Finnish Customs regulations and systems? Contact Maarianhamina customs office by phone at +358 295 52333, Mon-Fri 9:00-15:00 (EET)
Questions about shipments and freight tariffs? Contact Sales Manager Thomas Fagerstedt by phone at +358 18 636683 or via email at email@example.com
More information is available on the Finnish Customs website
- Trade between the Åland Islands and the rest of Finland (in Swedish)
- Transition period for the implementation of new tax border declarations (Åland) for importers registered for VAT (in Swedish)
- Changes to customs clearance between the Åland Islands and the rest
- of Finland (text in Swedish)
- Does your business engage in imports and exports with the Åland Islands? Watch our online recording!
- Union goods imported to Åland from another EU country can also in the future be released with a consignment note
- Changes to import declarations by businesses from April 2021