Finally, the decision on the long standing dispute that started in 2015 on the classification for mobility scooters has been published in the EU Official Journal.
To quickly summarise the dispute, there were two competing classifications:
- From the manufacturers/traders, the scooters were to be classified under 8713: carriages for disabled persons, whether or not motorised -> 0% duty
- From the customs authorities, the correct heading was 8703: motor cars and other motor vehicles -> 10% duty
For the answer go straight to the bottom. For the nerds among us, here is the classification decision.
The classification decision
Classification is determined by General Rules 1 and 6 for the interpretation of the Combined Nomenclature and by the wording of CN codes 8703 , 8703 10 and 8703 10 18 .
Classification under heading 8713 as a carriage for disabled persons is excluded as the vehicle is not specially designed for the transport of disabled persons: it has no special features to alleviate a disability.
Although the vehicle is designed so that the steering can be controlled with one hand and features a comfortable rotating seat with supports and a non-slip surface for the feet (and may optionally be fitted with small anti-tipping wheels), such characteristics do not objectively constitute special features designed to alleviate a disability (see also the Combined Nomenclature Explanatory Notes (CNEN) to subheading 8713 90 00 , the Harmonized System Explanatory Notes to heading 8713 and HS classification opinion 8703.10/1).
In addition, vehicles fitted with a separate, adjustable steering column and those reaching a maximum speed over 10 km per hour are excluded from heading 8713 (see also CNEN to subheading 8713 90 00 ).
The vehicle is used for transporting persons and upon presentation to customs authorities it is not recognisable as a vehicle designed solely for disabled persons (see Case C-198/15 (1)), based on its objective characteristics and properties which must be assessed at the time of customs clearance (see Case C-286/15 (2)). Any subsequent post-clearance modification of the vehicle is disregarded as is any assessment of the vehicle that may be carried out by a national authority for purposes other than those laid down in customs legislation.
The vehicle is a special type of vehicle for the transport of persons.
It is therefore to be classified under CN code 8703 10 18 as a motor vehicle principally designed for the transport of persons, similar to golf cars.
Source: Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1367 of 6 August 2021 concerning the classification of certain goods in the Combined Nomenclature