The 2018 European law strengthens the powers of the Customs Agency by extending the customs verification terms to seven years, in the event of a criminal offense (Article 12, Law 3 May 2019, No. 37).

The new regulation expands the risk of disputes for those working in import-export. Compared to the current term, the deadline for assessment has more than doubled, with an expansion of the uncertainty relating to the operations already carried out and the obligation for customs intermediaries, to keep the documentation concerning the transactions (exchange mail, contracts, etc.) for at least seven years.

Another issue concerns the criminal offense report and the risk – already highlighted by the Constitutional Court (judgment 247/2011) on the subject of assessment for the purposes of direct taxes – of an instrumental use of the criminal offense report, in order to re-open relationships already prescribed.

The fact that a criminal offense report, filed by the prosecutor’s office, can legitimize the extension of the term up to seven years certainly poses a problem of real protection for the tax payer.

Another aspect concerns the retroactivity of the law: the new discipline, although in force since last 26 May, applies to obligations arising from 1 May 2016, ie from the date of introduction of the new Union customs code.