Art. 63 ter allows customs officers to take samples, according to modalities defined by decree, and to withhold the documents necessary for the investigation.
However, customs officers can only rely on article 63 ter of the Customs Code for customs offences, not for tax offences.
In a note to operators dated April 11, 2020, the DGDDI clarified the scope of the import duty exemption and VAT exemption on imports granted for goods needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, following the European Commission's decision of April 3, 2020.
This note cancels and replaces note no. 20000083 dated March 28, 2020.
Article 60 of the Customs Code does not confer on customs officers the power to detain a person beyond the time necessary for the fulfillment of the right of access, nor the power to hear him or her.
In order to investigate customs fraud, article 60 of the Customs Code gives customs officers a general power of control, also called "right of access", over goods, means of transport and persons.
The provisions of article 60 do not specify the conditions under which the prerogatives of customs officers may be exercised and only stipulate that "for the application of the provisions of the present code and with a view to detecting fraud, customs officers may inspect goods, means of transport and persons".
In a decision of January 15, 2019, the Nancy Court of Appeals stated that, in the absence of a specific time limit provided for in the Customs Code, it follows from articles 346 and 347 of the same code that, in the absence of a response from the Customs Administration within six months following the contestation of a notice of collection (AMR), the taxpayer has a period of five years in which to bring the matter before the Court of First Instance (CA Nancy, January 15, 2019, no. 18/01317, Hasbro v. Lorraine Regional Customs and Indirect Tax Department).
In accordance with the provisions of Article 346 of the Customs Code, the time limit for contesting a notice of collection is 3 years from the date of notification.
This challenge is made to the authority that issued the said notice.
The Rennes Court of Appeal validates, by virtue of the devolutive effect of the appeal, an order authorizing a home visit not motivated by the JLD (CA Rennes, 3 Apr. 2019, no. 18/00001, X c/ Director General of Customs and Indirect Taxes).
In terms of customs, home visits are strictly regulated. Article 64 of the Customs Code stipulates that they must be authorized by an order of the juge des libertés et de la détention (JLD) of the place of the regional customs directorate to which the service in charge of the procedure belongs.