Structure of the Federal Customs Service

Structure of the Central Administration of the FCS of Russia

Administrative-territorial division

Regional customs directorate (RCD) of FCS of Russia

RCDs are customs bodies within the centralized system of customs bodies of Russia, ensuring realization of the FCS of Russia tasks and functions in corresponding the jurisdiction.
RCDs coordinate Customs houses’ activity with the exception of customs houses, directly subordinated to the FCS of Russia.

  • 8 Federal Districts

  • 8 Customs Directorates

  • 96 Customs houses, including 10 Operative customs

  • 540 Customs offices

  • More than 65000 employees


Primary Functions of the Federal Customs Service

  • 1. determination of public policy and legal policy in customs matters

  • 2. customs control

  • 3. currency control

  • 4. transport control at the check points across the national boundary

  • 5. implementation of sanitary quarantine, quarantine, phytosanitary and veterinary control during the examination of documents

  • 6. counteracting smuggling and other crimes and customs offences

Federal Customs Service in 2014

In 2014, revenues administered by the Federal Customs Service brought to the Federal Budget of the Russian Federation 7100.6 billion rubles, which is 8.1% higher than the indicator of the same period in the previous year.

This was possible due to constant work on improvement of the levying customs payments, development of information technologies, optimization of risk management system, and post-audit arrangements combined with enforcement activities.

2014 brought a system of remote declaring of goods in electronic form

Adaptation of obligatory electronic declaring took 5 years of technical and organizational arrangements. Starting January 1, 2014, customs declaration had to be submitted in electronic form.

By the end of the 2014 about 99.6% of economic operators employed electronic declaration. In total, about 99.8% of customs declarations were lodged in electronic form.

Paper declarations remain as an exceptional form, and are to be used only in cases stipulated by the Government.

A WEB-portal of the Federal Customs Service on “Submission of information in electronic form” was highly praised by experts from the business community as simple to use, easy to access, and cost effective way of lodging a customs declaration. Registration and services provided by the Portal are free.

After a trader obtained a special digital signature, he can submit information on goods that he intends to bring to the Eurasian Economic Union in advance, i.e. before crossing the customs border. Consequently, a trader fills in a declaration form through the WEB-portal as well as uploads scanned copies of required documents to his personal account. This package of documents can be submitted to the customs from an office or a house any time of the day. Any customs office may access the uploaded archive not disturbing the trader, thereby speeding up customs operations.

Lodging such declaration is automatically registered with a customs, followed by granting of unique identification number.

With aim of improving the conditions for running business and creating a favorable investment climate, the FCS of Russia arranges for reducing amount of lodged documents in respect to export and import operations.

As of 2014, average amount of documents necessary for import was 8, and amount of documents necessary for export was 6.

Should a trader exercise trading activities on a regular basis without any specific measures, benefits or risks etc., it would take 5 documents for import and 3 for export, since a file related to the trader as well as all archived copies will be available for customs to use through the said WEB-portal.

In 2014, the Federal Customs Service integrated a system through which information about a document issued by a stateauthorized body (be it a special permit, a license, a certificate, etc.) that should be filed with a declaration may be obtained by customs from a database of any of 32 government bodies of the Russian Federation, which allows customs to refrain from requesting the corresponding document from a declaring person. A trader only needs to indicate a reference number of the corresponding document.

Pre-arrival informing procedure by different modes of transport

Starting October 1, 2014, an obligatory pre-arrival informing procedure in respect to goods imported to the Customs Union by rail transport was introduced.

In order to expedite cross-border formalities at import to the Customs Union, traders and other persons concerned, in cooperation with railway companies take an active part in submitting pre-arrival information via WEB-portal of the Federal Customs Service which testifies of high interest of the business community in introduction of new information technologies at organizing transportation processes.

Introduction of obligatory pre-arrival informing on goods imported to the Customs Union by road transport already brought positive effect to expedite customs procedures in interests of traders. As a result, average time of customs formalities in road cross border customs checkpoints reduced to 45 minutes.

The Federal Customs Service conducts its activity in efforts to introduce obligatory pre-arrival informing on goods imported to the Eurasian Economic Union by sea transport as well.

The main criterion of expediting customs formalities in sea ports is submission of in-advance information before arrival or departure of a vessel according to the requirements, which, eventually, would lead to a decision to remotely clear the customs formalities (i.e. without boarding by customs officials to a vessel for inspection).

Pre-arrival information, besides a remote clearance, is used for automatization of customs clearance and customs control as well as for risk management.

Besides, pre-arrival information helps to take a decision on documentary control of the vessel, on unloading (prohibition to unload) goods, determine goods liable to phytosanitary, veterinary, radiation or x-ray control, as well as to inform operator of sea terminal to place containers with goods to customs control zone beforehand.

In 2014, the FCS of Russia was testing a pilot model of “Sea Port” project.

The above said arrangements reduced period of customs formalities and control at transporting goods and means of conveyance in sea check points considerably. Average time frame of customs formalities with boarding a ship by customs officer was about 96 minutes, without boarding a ship ? about 35 minutes.

Pre-arrival informing reduces time period for customs clearance in respect to one ship loaded with cargo by 9 times and in respect to one ship a without cargo by more than 20 times.

Taking into consideration that technological processes of handling goods in sea ports is characterized by their multiplicity, randomness, and big amount of participants (controlling bodies, economic operators, organizations providing services related to cargo handling, including loading and unloading, and logging of cargo at bonded warehouse storage facilities), the Federal Customs Service developed a single conception that would allow to optimize information exchange between controlling bodies and persons involved in transportation of the goods in a seaport.

In April 2014, business associations carried out independent measurement of time of customs operations performance in respect to container cargo. It was established, that from the moment of registration of customs declaration it took 2 hours 7 minutes for customs to clear the goods for import. Also worth mentioning that unloading container took 5 hours 27 minutes, and collecting the cargo from the bounded warehouse and moving it out from the terminal took 21 hours.

The Federal Customs Service is implementing international standard of clearance and accompanying of international air shipments (e-Freight) in the Russian Federation that was adopted by the Government Commission on transport and communication. In close cooperation with air carriers, the Federal Tax Service, and the Federal Customs Service worked out a draft flowsheet on informational interaction in order to prove reasonableness of applying 0% VAT rate to international air cargo shipments and to abolish paper document circulation.

System of categorizing participants of foreign economic activity

In 2014, the FCS of Russia continued introduction of a complex of the arrangements aimed at supporting foreign economic activity run by diligent (bona fide) companies, improving the investment climate, enhancing effectiveness of customs control with application of risk management system.

Such approach brought a system of categorizing participants of foreign economic activity for risk targeting purposes, which would allow treating those participants as a low-risk category with aim to minimize risks and reduce a degree of customs control.

The FCS of Russia provided for special procedures for low-risk traders on collecting, treating and analyzing information by customs officials in respect to following categories:

  • enterprises of industry

  • car manufacturers

  • meat importers

  • fish importers

  • producers exporting products not liable to customs export duties

To obtain such preferences an application and corresponding documents are to be submitted with the Federal Customs Service. As of January 2015, there are 333 low risk companies carrying out activities in the above said areas.

To treat trader’s profile in a low risk category its activity should meet following criteria

  • to fall within specified economy sector

  • to exceed set authorized capital amount

  • to run more than set period of foreign economic activity

  • non-application of simplified system of taxation

  • absence of outstanding debt on administrative violation cases

  • absence of outstanding tax and customs debts, etc

Furthermore, there are arrangements for automated formation of a list of diligent companies independent of type of goods transported.

Categorization is carried out based on criterion quarterly calculated by specialized software, which takes into account information resources of the Federal Customs Service, the Federal Tax Service, the Central Bank and the Federal Service of financial and budgetary control. Such approach lets to minimize human factor in conducting analysis.

There is a complex of about 40 criteria to categorize a profile of a trader such as period of foreign trade activity, volume of goods imported, price and weight indexes dynamics, administrative violations records etc.

Analysis results and a list of such individuals are confidential, used for customs purposes only and not disclosed to trade participants.

On the basis of automated categorization about 2 thousand companies was determined, whose share of import to Russia amounted to 42% of submitted customs declarations and 55% of customs payments in 2014.

Customs is constantly monitoring low-risk individuals’ customs operations to reveal possible negative trends related to violation of customs legislation and ensure sufficient customs control.

In overall, introduction of system categorizing participants of foreign trade facilitates customs formalities and speeds up customs clearance for diligent foreign trade companies.

Such approach made it possible to reduce amount of customs inspections by 10 times, customs expertise by 1.7 times, requests of additional documents by 9.5 times.

Lately, there is also movement from a focus on customs control during customs clearance at cross border checkpoints towards post-audit customs control, which would also speed up customs formalities.