The free movement of goods Order (2004) is the legal text applying to movement of goods in Malta.
Alcohol, tobacco, energy products (hydrocarbon fuels), portland cement (excluding white cement) electricity and mobile telephony are subject to excise duties in accordance with the provisions of the Excise Duty Act (Cap. 382) and Directive 2008/118/EC concerning the general arrangements for excise duty.
Excise duties are paid by manufacturers and distributors. The Customs Department is responsible for collection and enforcement of excise duties within Malta.
The duty on alcoholic drinks is based on the type and strength of the drink. Duties on cigars and tobacco are calculated by weight. Cigarettes are also subject to an extra tax based on the retail price.
Trade licensing requirements
The legal basis is the Trading Licences Act 2001 and the Trading Licences Regulation, Legal Notice 1 of 2006 under which trade of goods has to be covered by a trading license.
Commercial activities involving the wholesale or retail trade of goods in Malta, where such goods are not exclusively dealt with by other authorities, are subject to a trading license. Licences are granted where development planning and public health and safety conditions are satisfied.
Such commercial activities are licensed by the Trade Services Directorate of the Commerce Department.
Permits and licences
Application forms for trading licences can be downloaded and printed from www.commerce.gov.mt.
Completed applications together with the necessary attachments are to be handed to the Business Care Unit at the Commerce Department or posted to the Commerce Department, Lascaris, Valletta VLT 2000 Malta.
Attachments to a notification/application for a premises based activity must include:
- a copy of the passport or ID card if the applicant is a non-Maltese European Economic Area national.
- a copy of the passport or Residence Document and an ETC permit if the applicant is a third country national.
- a Declaration by the Shareholders or by the Board of Directors if the applicant is the legal representative of a partnership or company.
- a No Objection Declaration by the Environment Health Directorate for any type of activity involving the handling of food and/or beverages, hairdressing, beauty treatment, fitness or physical well being.
- a certificate of compliance from the Plant Health Department where the commercial activity involves the operation of a grain silo.
International VAT number
A request for a VAT number may be obtained either through the VAT Department's portal or by a request in writing to the Department at the following address: VAT Department, 16, Centre Point Building, Triq ta' Paris, Birkirkara CMR 02.
A person has to apply for registration by not later than thirty days from the date when a supply of a good or a service has been made.
Trade of goods declaration
Where goods depart an EU country (EU15) or an Accession state prior to 1 May 2004 and arrive in Malta, a customs import declaration will be required when the goods are entered into free circulation whether or not import duty is payable.
This also applies to goods which have departed an EU country (EU15) or an Accession country and on 1 May 2004 are still not released for free circulation in Malta.
'COM' must be entered in Box 1 of the import declaration if the goods are proven to have Community status - and will therefore be free of customs duties (there are some exceptions for certain agricultural products), but liable to import VAT.
If they do not have Community status then ‘EU’ or ‘IM’ as appropriate must be entered. In these particular circumstances i.e. where an import declaration must be submitted, a separate Intrastat record is NOT required during this transitional measure.
Goods imported from the EU15 and the Accession countries prior to 1 May 2004 under imports of goods via a Customs Procedure with Economic Impact, Free zone or End-Use can be entered into free circulation free of customs duties and other customs measures on accession, if they have proof of preferential origin or Community status.
A customs import declaration indicating the Community status of the goods will be required to enter the goods into free circulation. Proof of Community Status must be provided.
All goods that are eligible for free circulation in Malta at the date of accession must be assigned to free circulation by the end of the laid down time limit for goods in temporary storage.
As described above an import declaration for free circulation, accompanied by all relevant documents normally required, and proof of Community status are to be provided.
If the goods do not have proof of preferential origin or Community status, they will remain non-Community goods and the normal requirements of the procedure including discharge of the procedure will continue to apply to those goods.
All export consignments destined for the EU15 or new Accession states before 1 May 2004 must be declared before departing to an export procedure in Malta.
Beyond this period, or if it has not been necessary to declare under an export procedure based on the above advice, the trade in goods (in free circulation) with the EU25 will become intra-community as is the case with the current 15 EU countries i.e. 'dispatches' as opposed to 'exports'.
Exports of Customs Procedures with Economic Impact (CPEI), Free zone & End-Use Goods:
Goods may be entered into one of these procedures in Malta prior to 1 May 2004 (e.g. Inward Processing Relief or Temporary Importation) with the intention of re-exporting them or compensating products to the EU15 or the new Accession states.
However, from accession on 1 May 2004, 'exports' to the new EU countries will no longer discharge duty liability. After accession, duty liability will only be discharged if the goods are transferred to a business that is also authorised to receive those goods under a suspensive procedure or re-exported outside the enlarged EU.
During the transitional period of 1 May, the point at which export is deemed to have taken place depends on the customs procedure the goods were under (e.g. IPR drawback, customs warehousing, temporary importation) and the method of export e.g. full SAD declaration, etc.
Goods for which Community Transit (CT) is currently required must still be placed under CT if the movement starts prior to 1 May 2004.
All transit procedures started prior to 1 May 2004 to or from an Accession state must be ended properly even if the goods arrive at their destination on or after 1 May 2004; i.e. the goods and required documents must be presented to the Office of Destination or authorised consignee within the prescribed time limit.
Goods which are moving under external Community Transit (T1) as from 1 May 2004 will require proof of Community status in order to enter them into free circulation, free of customs duties and other measures.
From 1 May 2004, CT (T2) will no longer be required for movements to, from or via Hungary, Poland, Slovakia or the Czech Republic provided the goods are in Free Circulation in either, any of the 10 new EU countries, or the current 15 EU countries, on or after 1 May 2004. CT (T1) will still be required if the goods are not in Free Circulation in any of the 10 new EU countries or in the current 15 EU countries.
With effect from 1 May 2004, CT guarantees must provide cover in all 10 new EU countries as well as the existing 15. A guarantee will not be valid unless it covers all 25 EU countries. Traders must contact the Customs Free Zones/Transit Unit for more information.
Collection basis and responsible party
As from May 2004, customs collects, inputs and processes the basic data for Non-EU Trade, an electronic extraction of which is transferred to the National Statistics Office (NSO) at the end of each month.
Intra-EU Trade data is collected from the Supplementary Declaration System. The VAT Department is the legal owner of the data derived from this System. The National Statistics Office is responsible for managing the Supplementary Declaration System also known as INTRASTAT.
The NSO is also responsible for checking, analyzing and preparing statistical reports for dissemination.
An annual exemption threshold for the arrivals and dispatches of goods to and from Malta and EU countries is established by the VAT authorities.
Traders and enterprises whose value of annual gross merchandise arrivals and dispatches of goods to and from Malta, falls below this threshold, are exempted from providing supplementary information about their Intra-EU transactions.
Traders and enterprises whose value of annual gross merchandise arrivals and dispatches of goods to and from Malta exceeds the said established threshold, have to provide regular information about their transactions. Currently the Exemption Threshold is Lm300 (€698.81).
Shipping certain goods
The exportation of dual use items and items relative to military technology is subject to an export authorization process, which are administered by the Commerce Department in line with EU and international regimes to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The dual-use items, which require an export authorization, are listed in Annex I of the Council Regulation 428/2009.
As in the case of the dual-use items, exporters of military equipment are bound under penalty to provide all necessary information when applying for an authorization, and to comply with any conditions or requirements imposed on the authorization. In this case also, the regulations apply to all nationals in Malta, and to Maltese citizens abroad.