Customs and anti-fraud
Despite the open borders, the Austrian customs authority continues to be involved in numerous tasks serving not only the protection of the population and the economy. As a fiscal administration body, it is also responsible for matters such as collecting customs duties, consumer taxes, the disused hazardous site levy (Altlastenbeitrag) and monitoring prohibitions and restrictions. The following pages contain an overview of the organisational entities and their diverse tasks in combating fraud.
A snake or scorpion preserved in brandy, animal skins or furs, as well as hunting trophies, corals, beautiful orchids or cacti, etc., are popular holiday souvenirs. At the very latest when passing through airport customs when entering Austria, returning travellers get a big surprise when their items are confiscated by the customs authorities due to the Endangered Species Act (Artenschutzgesetz). And when, several weeks later, a notice of criminal prosecution arrives from the district administrative authority, those glorious holiday memories are then firmly consigned to the past.
To maintain the obligatory high international standards in the realm of combating fraud and to pursue the national ambition of enhanced combating of fraud, the customs offices and their executive bodies need to implement risk-oriented mobile monitoring and control measures.
Sniffer dogs have been used successfully in the Austrian customs administration for several decades. Prior to Austria’s accession to the European Union in 1995, and until the eastern expansion in 2004, sniffer dogs were largely used as protection dogs and sniffer dogs in the realm of drug detection. In the western and southern regional states of Austria, they were also trained as avalanche search dogs and successfully used in disasters.
Mobile X-ray Vehicles (Scan Mobile)
Like numerous other customs administrations, for several years now, Austria has been deploying two mobile LGV/container scanners and an X-ray vehicle in order to be able to achieve the greatest possible success using minimal labour.
Customs Investigation Teams
At each of the nine customs offices in Austria, there are customs investigation teams whose main task is to combat smuggling, as well as to enforce the Fiscal Offences Act in relation thereto.