Will you be confident or concerned if you’re selected for a customs verification?
If your company ships items across the Canada-U.S. border, there’s a good chance that one day you’ll be audited by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
A CBSA audit, also known as a verification, can impact every department within your organization, so a thorough corporate understanding of customs requirements and responsibilities is a must. Here are some tips to help your company stay compliant and be prepared for a customs visit or verification:
1. Maintain all records relating to your imports and exports for a period of seven years. This includes: purchasing records, invoices, contracts, payment records, and inventory, receiving and transportation records. Being able to locate and quickly retrieve all the documentation to support customs requirements will start you on the road to a successful verification.
2. Establish a process for identifying what you ordered, what you paid for and what you received, and compare that information with the declaration presented to customs by your broker. If you find any errors, notify your customs broker immediately and have them submit corrections to CBSA on your behalf. You are required by law to voluntarily correct these errors within 90 days of finding them.
3. Ensure you and your employees are familiar with the regulations, processes and requirements that impact your cross-border transactions. Focus initially on learning more about tariff classification, valuation and free trade agreements. These three areas impact almost every importer or exporter in one way or another.
4. Get help if you need it! Customs is a complex business. Ensure you have a strong professional support network that is focused on looking after your needs.
Knowing your responsibilities will allow your business to run smoother and minimize the impact and anxiety of a customs verification. How, you ask?
- You will be better prepared. It is much easier to weather the verification when everything is properly documented and you are prepared to knowledgeably answer questions.
- Fewer penalties. Don’t wait for customs to find the errors; conducting your own internal reviews and making corrections as errors are found will reduce penalties.
- Voluntary compliance creates a positive profile of your business within the customs system. This results in faster clearance times, fewer customs exams and reduces customs’ overall interest in your ongoing business transactions.
Our experienced professionals can help ensure your compliance in advance of a customs audit, and guide you through the process when it happens – greatly increasing your chances of a positive outcome.
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