The purpose for the establishment of the EORI (Economic Operators Registration Identification) system is to enable every trader who directly interacts with the Customs Authorities in any Member State of the EU, to be allocated a unique reference number. This reference number is valid throughout the EU Community and serves as a common reference for the trader’s interaction with the Customs Authorities of any Member State. This system has been in use by traders in all customs declaration since 1st July 2009. This number is also used for the exchange of information between the Customs authorities of the EU and where appropriate, between Customs and other authorities e.g. statistical authorities.
In order to minimise disruption to traders by creating further identification numbers, Customs has decided to align the EORI number to the VAT number to avoid a situation whereby traders would need to make significant adjustments to their own internal electronic systems.
Elements of EORI
There are two separate distinct elements to the EORI system, one at national or Member State level and one at EU level.
1. National or Member State Level
The Malta Customs Authority assigns a unique identifying number, known as EORI, to each and every trader who interacts with Customs. Traders are required to use this EORI number in all transactions (declarations) lodged by them or on their behalf irrespective of the Member State in which these declarations are lodged. This unique identifying number is valid for use in all Member State.
2. Central EU EORI database
The Malta Customs is then obliged to provide details to the European Commission of all those traders who have been assigned an EORI number. These details are held on a central EU database maintained by the European Commission, which also contains similar information provided by the other 27 Member States. Updates to the Malta Customs national EORI database are advised to the central EU database at regular intervals. Officially new entrants in the system are uploaded during the night and thus the number will be officially available the following day.
The central EU database also has a public facing feature which allows third parties to view certain limited details of all EORI registered traders (i.e. EORI number, name and address. This is primarily to facilitate a situation where the third party will be carrying out some customs activity (such as making a customs declaration) on behalf of a trader and needs to know the EORI number. However, access by a third party to the database will only be allowed in circumstances where a trader has given specific and informed written consent to publication of those details. Malta Customs approaches the matter on the basis that no information in relation to a Maltese trader will be published unless the trader has specifically filled in and sent to Malta Customs, a consent form which gives authority to Malta Customs to publish on the internet, the name and address of that particular trader.
Structure of EORI number
Maltese EORI numbers are preceded with the prefix MT. A decision has been taken to align the EORI numbers with the VAT number and thus Maltese EORI numbers are equivalent to the trader’s VAT number with some small exception. This means that traders should be inserting in the import and export declarations their current VAT number with the prefix MT. It is important that no spaces, hyphens or any other character are introduced in the number. This means that the number must be continuous. (e.g MT12345678).
The exceptions mentioned above cover the traders who are not based in any EU Member State but require an EORI in order make transactions with Customs. These are obliged to get their EORI number at the first Port of Call after 1st January 2010. Should their first port of call be Malta, they would be assigned a special EORI number comprising MT plus the country where they are based and a special number. For example, a Turkish carrier requires to submit an ENS to Malta. They would require an EORI number. The number issued would be MTTR9****** where the asterisk denotes any particular number assigned by the Maltese Customs Office.
Use of EORI number in declarations
The EORI number will have to be used in boxes 2, 8 and 14 of the SAD declaration. However, it should be noted that the EORI number will not replace the Accounting reference number (box 48) which governs the payment of duties and taxes.
It is not possible for EORI registered traders to use any other number in boxes 2, 8 or 14 and declarations in which any other number is used in these boxes will be rejected.
As previously indicated, all traders registered in the Customs Business Directory up to 1 July 2009 were automatically assigned an EORI number to use from that date. Subsequently, any trader who wishes to import or export goods, needs to inform Customs in advance of making the customs declaration in order to have an EORI number assigned. Please note, that as also previously stated, EORI numbers are officially uploaded to the Central E£U Databases during the subsequent night. Thus traders who wish to register are to take this in account when applying or using any of the Customs services.
Registration for EORI
Traders who wish to register for an EORI number have to call at Customs House, Lascaris Wharf, Valletta. They are to present their original VAT certificate, their original MFSA certificate, and a photocopy of the ID card or Passport of one of the Directors involved in day to day running of the business.
In order to speed up the process, callers for new EORI numbers are advised to also do two photocopies of the VAT certificate, and a photocopy of all other documents.
A trader not established in the customs territory of the community, will be registered by the customs authority of the Member State where one of the following is performed:
- Lodge in the Community a summary or customs declaration other than;
A customs declaration made in accordance with Articles 225 to 238 of Regulation(EEC) 2454/93 or a customs declaration made for the temporary admission import procedure,
- Lodge in the Community an exit or entry summary declaration,
- Operates a temporary storage facility under Article 185(1),
- Apply for an authorisation under Article 324(a) or 37,
- Apply for An Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) certificate.
The legislation restricts the issue of an EORI number to a legal entity – sole proprietor, partnership, company or individual. It therefore cannot be allocated to individual branches or divisions within a legal entity.Only one number can be issued per legal entity.
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