Customs carried out 330,000 checks in 2022.
International World Customs Day recognises significant customs work around the world.
Austria's customs officers ensure safe and fair framework conditions for business, citizens, and the state. World Customs Day on 26 January commemorates the founding of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in 1953. The 184 member states of the WCO honoured the diverse and important work of customs. Last year alone, almost 1,700 Austrian customs officers carried out around 330,000 controls. Of these, 190,000 controls were carried out in the course of 7.3 million customs clearances and around 140,000 controls in the area of mobile controls and travel.
Austrian Finance Minister Magnus Brunner commented: “World Customs Day is a fitting occasion to thank our customs colleagues for their great commitment and commitment. The Austrian customs office and its employees protect both businesses and citizens from illegal trade in goods such as product piracy, counterfeit products and dangerous goods. In addition, they make an important contribution to the protection of species and the environment and, by administering the levies, help to secure the national budget.”
Customs Authority Austria (ZAÖ) - many important competencies bundled in one office.
In the course of the modernization of the financial administration, the Austrian customs office was also reorganized in 2021 as a tax and fiscal penal authority, including activities in the fight against fraud.
Head of the ZAÖ, Heike Fetka-Blüthner: “In addition to securing income, the customs administration also has to meet increasing requirements in the area of protection and security standards in cross-border goods traffic. Topics such as health, consumer protection, protection of intellectual property, the environment and sustainability aspects or trade policy measures such as embargoes and sanctions are covered, for example.”
Many people are familiar with the work of customs, especially at Vienna-Schwechat Airport in the area of the red and green channels, where air travellers are randomly checked. In addition, travel teams are deployed at other international airports and at the external borders with Switzerland and Liechtenstein - including on skis in the Ischgl ski area in Tyrol. In addition, mobile teams control main traffic routes, goods transhipment points and traffic checkpoints throughout Austria. Customs clearance for commercial goods traffic is processed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at the customs offices and at the approved goods locations.
In addition to cigarette smuggling, the focus of the customs fight against fraud is also on combating smuggling and illegal cross-border trade in other goods, such as pharmaceuticals, narcotics, product piracy, endangered species of animals and plants, and combating the evasion of customs duties and other taxes such as mineral oil tax.
Central management and ZAÖ – together for stability and the future of customs
Two specialist departments in the Ministry of Finance work closely with the Austrian customs office and thus ensure a high level of training and knowledge in the diverse complex matter of customs law and other relevant legal matters. They also coordinate participation in EU educational measures. True to this year's motto of the WCO "Promotion of the next generation: Promoting a culture of knowledge exchange and professional pride in customs” they also involve the employees in numerous implementation projects and thus ensure the exchange of knowledge and the promotion of a common job profile.
Controls with service dogs and high-tech equipment
Twenty-seven service dogs are currently used to support checks. Most dogs have combined cigarette and drug training or cash and drug training. In addition, species protection detection dogs are used at Schwechat Airport, which are conditioned to more than 20 different smells. The customs office also uses stationary and mobile scanning and X-ray devices or vehicles for efficient checks of truck loads, containers, passenger luggage or e-commerce shipments. Entire truck trains and containers can be checked with the Scan-Mobil.
Promotion of sports by the customs administration
Customs also has a Customs sports squad that has produced stars such as Katharina Liensberger, Lukas Greiderer, Daniel Hemetsberger and Markus Salcher. This makes it possible to introduce young talents to top-class sport and at the same time to offer them professional training and social and economic security.