Federal Customs Administration

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Federal Customs Administration

Logo of the Federal Customs Administration
State level Federation
position Financial administration and law enforcement authority (in the business area of ​​the BMF)
Supervisory authority Federal Ministry of Finance (Department III - Customs and Excise Department)
founding 1949
Headquarters Bonn
Authority management President Colette Hercher
Servants 39,000 as of March 2019
Budget volume € 2.887 billion (2020)
Web presence www.zoll.de

The Federal Customs Administration is a German customs authority part of the Federal Finance Administration and the Federal Ministry of Finance assumed. It includes both the enforcement services and the fiscal administration . The tasks of the customs administration ( the customs ) are: to collect customs duties and various federal taxes, to enforce pecuniary claims of the federal government and federal corporations, to monitor compliance with the prohibitions and restrictions in the cross-border movement of goods, as well as to prevent and prosecute undeclared work and to check compliance with Collective and minimum wages.


Traffic sign customs office

Tax authority

The German Federal Customs Administration, as part of the Federal Finance Administration, ensures the income from federal taxes. These are the so-called special consumption taxes - spirits tax , electricity tax , tobacco tax , energy tax , etc., including the beer tax , the revenue of which is due to the countries, the aviation tax , the nuclear fuel tax , the motor vehicle tax and revenue of the European Union (75% of all customs duties are paid to the EU paid, 25% remain as an expense allowance and go to the federal government).

Enforcement authority

The customs cruiser Helgoland ( lake control unit )

The tasks of the enforcement areas of the customs administration include the customs supervision of the movement of goods across the German part of the customs border of the European Union ( border supervision ), the supervision of compliance with prohibitions and restrictions in the cross-border movement of goods, the supervision of the cross-border movement of goods subject to excise duty , the protection of the German continental shelf in the North Sea and Baltic Sea (ie the monitoring of submarine mining and prospecting rights) and the fight against illegal work and money laundering . The control unit lake , together with other agencies, the Coast Guard of the Federation . The enforcement areas of the customs administration are working in many areas closely with the police forces of the countries and the Federal together and other authorities. They are law enforcement agencies and are also used to fight terrorism.

The enforcement area of ​​the Federal Customs Administration is assigned:

Close cooperation with other authorities takes place in particular in the federal coast guard and through the following joint investigation groups:

Law enforcement agency

Seal of the Federal Finance Administration

The Federal Customs Administration enforces public-law pecuniary claims of the federal government and direct federal legal entities under public law such as B. the Federal Employment Agency , the statutory health insurance companies , the professional associations and others. The executing officers are enforcement officers and, like bailiffs, have the right to seize property, land and claims and, if necessary, to dispose of them later.


There are regular auctions at main customs offices, which have a field of enforcement. Objects that have been seized or intended for recovery by the authorities are auctioned there. There is an Internet auction portal that can also be used to bid on such goods. In addition to customs, other authorities and administrations also use this offer and auction. Excluded from the auctions are confiscated goods such as cigarettes and other tobacco products, weapons, narcotics, animals and plants.

Legal bases

The third auxiliary stand of the signal manual, which is prescribed as a customs stand .
The signal flag Q is also used as a customs stand in the flag alphabet .

Due to their classic filter function and their police tasks, the enforcement areas of the Federal Customs Administration are often confused with the Federal Police or assigned to it (also the other way around) and always moved in the direction of the police .

Many enforcement areas of the customs have similar competencies as certain areas of the police of the federal states and the federal state, they perform a variety of police and law enforcement tasks. For example, the customs investigation can be described as the "customs police force". The fiscal administrative areas of the customs administration, which function as revenue administration, can be represented in a simplified manner as the “federal tax office”, as they ensure the federal tax revenue ( customs duties and excise duties ).

Customs officials are legally and formally tax officials as members of the Federal Finance Administration. The law enforcement officers, however, have the status of law enforcement officers in the prosecution of tax crimes and tax offenses, as well as in the prosecution of crimes in connection with the fight against illegal employment (e.g. fraud, illegal residence of foreigners). Customs officers from the enforcement areas ( including the administrative employees within the Financial Control Department ) are also investigators for the public prosecutor's office . In the case of so-called pure tax offenses (e.g. tax evasion in the case of cigarette smuggling), the main customs office also has the legal status of the public prosecutor's office. Following the request of the EU Commission on July 28, 2003 to restructure customs into a goods police, the rather non- customs union GdP regularly discussed whether the enforcement areas of customs should be restructured into a federal finance police (see below).


Structure of the Federal Customs Administration until January 1, 2016

Until January 1, 2016, the German customs administration was organized in the following three stages:

  • The highest administrative level: The highest federal authority was the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF). Within the Federal Ministry of Finance, Department III was responsible for all technical, organizational and personal matters relating to the customs administration.
  • Middle administrative level: the federal agencies were the five regionally responsible federal finance offices and the customs criminal investigation office . The federal finance offices coordinated and supervised the activities of the subordinate local customs authorities on the one hand and were responsible for individual specialist packages nationwide on the other.
  • Local administrative level: The local authorities were the main customs offices with their subject areas. They were responsible for carrying out the customs duties. The financial control of illicit work , for example, was located at the main customs offices (subject areas E for auditing and investigation and subject areas C for prevention ).

Hierarchical management structure

Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF, Department III)

  • Procurement Office of the Federal Customs Administration (BABZV) with the customs clothing office (ZKK)
Customs officer on a construction site

Structure of the Federal Customs Administration since January 1, 2016

As part of the organizational reform of the Federal Customs Administration, the General Customs Directorate (GZD) was set up as the new higher federal authority on January 1, 2016 . In the course of this, the previous five federal finance offices were dissolved. The General Customs Directorate combines parts of the previous Department III of the Federal Ministry of Finance , the Federal Finance Directorates, the Customs Criminal Police Office and the education and science center of the Federal Finance Administration under the umbrella of a centrally competent authority. The customs administration now only consists of the General Customs Directorate and the "operational local level" ( main customs offices and customs investigation offices ). The General Customs Directorate is headquartered in Bonn (Am Propsthof 78a) and employs around 7,000 people nationwide.

Organizational structure of the General Customs Directorate established on January 1, 2016 .

Organizational structure of the General Customs Directorate

General Customs Directorate (GZD)


The interests of the employees of the customs administration by the BDZ German Customs and Finance Union , the police union (GdP) and the United Services Union represented (Verdi).

The Federal Ministry of Finance initially did not want to recognize the GdP. The Hessian Administrative Court ruled with a final decision of December 22, 2008 that the GdP represents the interests of employees in the areas of enforcement of the Federal Customs Administration.

Federal finance police union project

The police union is the only one of the three unions representing the interests of customs officers and collective bargaining workers to demand a restructuring of all areas of customs enforcement into a so-called Federal Finance Police .

Promotion of elite sport

The Federal Customs Administration occurs since 1952 as a promoter of competitive sports and maintains the Customs Ski Team . In the 2016/17 season, the team had 64 members: 54 athletes, eight coaches and two ski technicians. They are divided into the disciplines Alpine skiing (16), biathlon (24), cross-country skiing (17), ski jumping (5) and Nordic combined (2). The athletes include Felix Neureuther and Viktoria Rebensburg as well as Laura Dahlmeier . The sponsored athletes, officials of the Customs Administration in the simple service .


  • In 2019, the Customs' youth campaign “Your Talent in Action 2.0” won the 2018 Political Award in the “Social Campaign” category.
  • In a global, comprehensive survey that the World Bank carried out in 2016 with around 1000 international freight forwarders and express goods service providers , the German Customs Administration scored very well and achieved an individual performance score of 4.12 out of 5 in the Logistics Performance Index ( LPI ) achievable points and thus achieved second place out of 160 places. Only the good result of the Singapore customs administration was ahead of the result of the German customs.
  • In June 2010, Software AG presented the German Customs Administration with the Business Process Excellence Award . Hans-Joachim Stähr , Ministerial Director in the Federal Ministry of Finance , accepted the award on behalf of the entire customs administration. The work of the Federal Customs Administration in the area of business process modeling and for support based on this with IT technologies, among other things in the course of the customs structural development project, was recognized .
  • In 2011, the German Customs Administration was awarded the Big Brother Awards, a negative data protection award, in the working world category.

Assignments abroad

Customs officers also take part in international missions such as EUBAM Moldova / Ukraine , EUBAM Rafah and EULEX , for example (often together with officials from the Federal Police ) to set up infrastructures for border security and control , to secure the collection of taxes , to prevent smuggling and also for training and education of local forces.


Shepherd dog of the West German customs on the inner-German border in 1984
In the context of this affair, the Customs Criminal Police Office publicly sided with the Frankfurt customs officer Stefan R. He had prevented the smuggling of nuclear weapon parts into Iran and was due to the Koblenz Regional Finance Directorate responsible for Frankfurt Airport - customs and consumption tax department - based in Neustadt ad Weinstrasse dismissed alleged exceedance of authority. While the Oberfinanzdirektion Koblenz tried to defend the publicly massively criticized dismissal, the Customs Criminal Police Office praised the merits of the dismissed official for defending against a "danger to the external relations of the Federal Republic of Germany". The case caused a stir nationwide and later also attracted attention abroad.
  • 2005: At the end of March, the head of the main customs office in Frankfurt am Main Airport, Hartmut Neßler, entered the release phase of the 10-year partial retirement. The so-called coffee decree was issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance and met with outrage. With him, the guidelines for the fight against corruption were specified so closely that no courtesy such as B. can accept a glass of water or a cup of coffee, and collecting money among the employees themselves has been prohibited (e.g. to retire a civil servant, etc.).
  • 2006: Romania joined the agreement on the common transit procedure on January 1, 2006 and was thus treated as an EFTA state. At the main customs office in Frankfurt am Main , two rival service groups are engaged in public disputes. In shifts, approx. 140 customs officers accuse each other of being too laxly monitoring arriving travelers and making false suspicions public. The Federal Audit Office complains about inadequate customs controls at German airports. April 2006 - Publication of the key issues paper ( decision of the steering committee of the customs structural development project of April 11, 2006). October 2006 - Publication of the rough concept for the PSZ
  • 2007: Seventh EU enlargement on January 1, 2007 (fourth east enlargement) - Bulgaria and Romania become members of the European Union. November 2007 - Publication of the detailed concept for the PSZ . The Customs Support Groups will be dissolved in 2007.
  • 2008: Amendment of the Finance Administration Act and other laws such as B. the tax code on January 1st, 2008 through the second law amending the Finance Administration Act and other laws (2. FVGuaÄndG) , and thus the starting shot for the extensive changes to the organization of the customs administration through the project structural development customs .
  • 2009: Entry into force of the Law for the Reorganization and Modernization of Federal Service Law ( DNeuG) on July 1, 2009 and the associated creation of the new official designations of the German customs administration ZSAnw ( trainee customs secretary), ZIAnw ( trainee customs inspector) and ZAI (customs inspector ), which replaced the old Replace the designations ZAnw (Zollanwärter), FAnw (Finanzanwärter) and ZBI (Zollbetriebsinspektor). See also main article.
  • 2010: In spite of reprimands from the Federal Court of Auditors, there are still no entry control posts at Frankfurt Airport. The Federal Customs Administration reacts to the persistent staff shortage by setting up telephones at the unmanned checkpoints. Travelers can now call a customs officer who will appear at the control point after waiting for a while and carry out a check or clearance. This approach caused severe criticism in July 2010. Customs said in a statement that this concept appeals to the honesty of the citizens. Critics, on the other hand, speak of security gaps with unforeseeable consequences. At the end of the year, the Werthebach Commission is brought into being.
  • 2011: The release of the Frankfurt customs officer Stefan R. from 2004 was overturned by the Hessian Administrative Court after years of legal dispute .
  • 2014: Takeover of vehicle tax on July 1, 2014
  • 2016: Transformation of the Federal Finance Directorate into the General Customs Directorate . The Union Customs Code will be fully effective from May 1st.
  • 2018: Gradual introduction of the new blue uniform from September 2018, starting with the main customs offices in Frankfurt a. M. and Düsseldorf.


See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Information on the Customs website , accessed on May 5, 2019.
  2. [1]
  3. Division of the BMF. (PDF) Federal Ministry of Finance, January 1, 2008, archived from the original on December 7, 2008 ; accessed on January 29, 2015 (organizational chart).
  4. Customs: From the border to (almost) limitless possibilities. In: range of tasks. Customs online, April 1, 2010, archived from the original on February 22, 2011 ; accessed on January 29, 2015 .
  5. Federal Council nods off vehicle tax compromise , Spiegel Online , March 6, 2009.
  6. § 18 a Finance Administration Act (special regulation for the administration of motor vehicle tax through corporate lending)
  7. at www.zoll-auktion.de
  8. Criticism of the EU Commission (excerpt from the Official Journal of the EU Official Journal C 96 of April 21, 2004) ( Memento of April 9, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Customs online - General Customs Directorate. In: www.zoll.de. Retrieved April 3, 2016 .
  10. Andreas Ulrich: Ministry of Finance takes on the police union . MIRROR ONLINE. March 24, 2007. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  11. Zoll Ski Team. Top sport with social security and a professional future . Website of the Federal Ministry of Finance , accessed on March 8, 2015.
  12. Shortlist 2018 | Political Award. December 11, 2018, accessed on February 9, 2020 (German).
  13. Global Rankings 2016 - Logistics Performance Index. In: lpi.worldbank.org. Retrieved July 4, 2016 .
  14. Peter Wedde: Category “Working World”. In: The BigBrotherAwards 2011. September 4, 2012, accessed on January 29, 2015 (laudation).
  15. ^ Stefan Krempl: Bundesfinanzhof: Anti-terror screening of customs is legal. In: heise online. August 22, 2012, accessed January 29, 2015 .
  16. ^ The case of Imhausen-Chemie and IBI Ishan Barbouri International on the chemical weapons factory in Rabta. In: Chronik 1989. Libyen-News.de, archived from the original on February 21, 2006 ; accessed on January 29, 2015 (affair over the delivery of poison gas production plants to Libya).
  17. Bonn's long road to knowledge about Imhausen and Rabta ( Memento from July 27, 2014 in the Internet Archive ). In: Hamburger Abendblatt , No. 41, February 17, 1989, p. 14.
  18. Thomas Hirschbiegel: Suspicion of corruption against chief inspector and constitutional protection officer. The tricky gifts from the informer specs. In: Hamburger Morgenpost. November 9, 2000, accessed January 29, 2015 .
  19. Four customs officers shot , online article in the Rhein-Zeitung (RZ-Online) from 1998.
  20. Andreas Ulrich: Customs slouch at security checks. In: Spiegel Online. April 13, 2004, accessed January 29, 2015 .
  21. Benjamin Weinthal: The German Connection. In: Haaretz (Israeli daily newspaper). November 22, 2007, archived from the original on May 15, 2010 ; accessed on January 30, 2015 (English).
  22. EEC-EFTA Convention ( memo of February 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  23. Frankfurt Airport: Customs control after registration. In: hr-online. Archived from the original on July 24, 2010 ; accessed on January 29, 2015 .
  24. ^ Volker Dörken: Telephone instead of customs officer. In: Westfalenpost. July 23, 2010, accessed January 29, 2015 .
  25. Customs Secretary z. A. successfully defends himself against dismissal , press release from Hess. VGH of June 8, 2011
  26. ↑ Tax collector wins in court . Frankfurter Rundschau, June 9, 2011, accessed on January 29, 2015.
  27. Motor vehicle tax . In: Zoll.de. Federal Ministry of Finance, archived from the original on May 13, 2014 ; accessed on May 13, 2014 .
  28. Customs online - press releases - Customs in a new outfit. In: www.zoll.de. General Customs Directorate, 25 September 2018, accessed on 27 September 2018 .