Behind every customs compliant entry is a good customs compliance program or plan. Your broker has one, but do you?
Customs regulations are ever-changing, so it is important that you have a plan to keep current and compliant because you, as the importer, are solely responsible for the shipment. Not only will a compliance program reduce the likelihood of delays at the border and penalties from Customs, it will improve your bottom line.
As you may already know, compliance can cause many issues:
- Slow entry prep time by broker: If there are missing documents or incomplete info or if the broker has to make extra phone calls or do extra research, then there will be a delayed entry submission and more cost to you.
- Delays at the border: If you have already developed a poor compliance history with Customs, then it will have more examinations at the border. These cause delays that can hinder the otherwise smooth flow of your business.
- Customs audits: If your entry has raised enough notice to garner an audit, then those audits will be frequent, lengthy and costly. That is the last kind of attention your company needs.
- Customs penalties for non-compliance: Penalties will begin to add up over time if you do not comply with Customs law. You will want to save your company headaches by avoiding these costs.
“I didn't know” or “no one told me” is never an accepted excuse for customs errors. You are responsible for your shipment. Whether or not you use a broker, CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) will hold you responsible for any documentation, duties, and concerns connected to your shipment. Know what you are importing or exporting and what the requirements are for them. You know your business and your products the best, so you are your own greatest resource to get things right.
How can I ensure my entry is compliant?
You can avoid these issues upfront by having a good customs compliance program or plan in place.
Here is how to get started with a compliance plan for your business:
- Establish procedures and controls, and maintain them through internal reviews. This requires regular self-audits. By doing self-audits, you can avoid having costly, time-consuming Customs audits.
- Consider, identify, and prioritize high risk areas or those more likely to attract a Customs audit. You cannot solve an issue you cannot identify. However, once you know, you will be able to take steps to eliminate issues.
- Create a compliance plan that is efficient, effective and accessible. The plan needs to be bullet proof, meaning that it is reliable for any complications and issues that may occur. It needs to include a plan in the event you do get audited and contain a plan to correct any non-compliance identified.
- Ask you broker about their compliance program and how they ensure they are processing your shipments correctly. By knowing your broker's plan, you can make sure your plan complements theirs.
- Open communication with your broker and with CBSA is vital. Develop a good relationship with those that will be getting your shipments where they need to go. If you work in partnership with your broker and CBSA, they will return the favor and limit the headaches you and your company face when importing and exporting goods.
At Cole International, we have decades of experience and in-depth knowledge of Customs to help take care of your unique shipping needs, with offices located at key Canada/U.S. border crossings open 24/7 to help keep your business on the move. You can breathe easy knowing that our Customs professionals are proactive in dealing with compliance issues and have visibility to CBSA and CBP. At Cole, we know about classifications and the rate of duty, Free Trade Agreements and opportunities, Anti-Dump duties, security and all things Customs-related so we can help you get your shipments delivered efficiently.
Let our Consulting department help your company develop a Compliance Program that is right for you and your shipments. If you have any questions, or to request assistance or provide us with information about your business...
Information provided by: Customs Compliance Dept. - Cole International