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Rulings applications made easy (Canadian customs)

Rulings are helpful allies when it comes to helping your company save money on duty and maintaining customs compliance. Now, for companies registered in the CARM Client Portal (CCP), it’s never been easier to apply for a customs ruling.

Rulings defined

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) issues two types of rulings to help importers and exporters or producers outside of Canada as well as other members of the trade community, import their commercial goods. CBSA_128622093_s 

Advance rulings are the assigning of a 10-digit tariff classification number to the commercial goods being imported and include an explanation as to why the number is the correct one to use. Both the ruling and the tariff classification number help to determine whether the imported commercial goods qualify as originating goods and are therefore entitled to preferential tariff treatment under an FTA.

When applying for an advance ruling, you can also make a request regarding the eligibility of your goods for a duty-free conditional relief tariff item based on end use. When the CBSA issues an advance ruling for goods that may qualify for a conditional relief tariff item, the advance ruling will provide two classification numbers: the classification number that applies if the condition of relief is met, and the classification number that applies if the condition of relief cannot be fulfilled.

National customs rulings describe which existing customs laws should apply to goods imported into Canada and how to apply them. You can request a ruling on: 

Rulings are helpful and can be quite beneficial. At the least, rulings make the documentation process easier when clearing your goods at the border. At the most, they allow for transparency and improved customs compliance. Even better, a ruling just might save you on duty, both going forward and retroactively.

Get to know the rulings application process

Importers falling into one of the following categories can apply for a ruling:

  • importers of goods in Canada;
  • exporters or producers of those goods outside of Canada;
  • authorized person thereof (with proper delegated authority) (Note: in the CCP, if an authorized person—with delegated authority—is submitting an application for a ruling on behalf of a Trade Chain Partner (TCP), the must submit via the TCP’s portal);
  • producers of a material in certain FTA countries (outside of Canada) requesting an origin advance ruling of that material used in the production of goods, which will then be exported to Canada;
  • producers of a material in Israel or another Canada-Israel FTA (CIFTA) beneficiary or producers of a material in one of the countries or member states listed in paragraph 11(d) of D11-4-16 requesting an origin advance ruling of that material used in the production of goods, which will then be exported from Israel or another CIFTA beneficiary to Canada.

If you have a business number (BN9) and program identifier (RM), you may submit your application in one of the following ways:

If you do not have a BN9 and RM, you may still submit your application for a ruling by email, mail, or registered mail. 

The CBSA’s standard processing time for issuing a ruling is within 120 calendar days of receiving a complete application.

New! Applying for rulings in CARM

With the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project well on the way to full functionality, applying for rulings has become that much easier for anyone registered in the CCP

Every step of the ruling application can now be done electronically through the CCP. This streamlines the process and allows your rulings to be kept in one place for easy reference.

If you have delegated authority to your broker, your broker can submit rulings applications on your behalf. You and your broker can also view your rulings in the CCP and, if consent to publish was given, they will be included with other published rulings through the CBSA website.

To learn more, check out this handy, step-by-step guide to managing your ruling(s) in the CCP.

Missing information and rejected applications

If there is information missing from your application, the CBSA may ask for additional information. When this happens, you’ll be contacted by the CBSA in the same way you applied (i.e. via CCP, email or mail.) From here, you have minimum 30 calendar days from the date of the CBSA notice to provide the additional information.

Keep in mind, if the CBSA needs more information from you, this may cause a delay in issuing your ruling. In the event that additional information is required, the processing time of 120 days will begin once the CBSA has all of the necessary information. Failure to respond within the 30 days or providing insufficient information could lead the CBSA to decline issuing the ruling altogether.

You may also withdraw your application for a ruling at any time before the ruling is issued, and you can do this either via the CCP, or by email or mail.

Why is my ruling postponed?

Every so often, the CBSA postpones a ruling. Here are examples of circumstances that might cause this:

  • A request for re-determination or further re-determination for similar goods has been made.
  • Similar goods are subject to a verification, and the outcome may affect the ruling request.
  • The request involves a matter that is before the courts (for example, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal or Federal Court).

When does the CBSA decline to issue a ruling?

The following describe situations wherein the CBSA will decline to issue a ruling:

  • If the application pertains to hypothetical goods.
  • If there are multiple goods on the tariff classification ruling application (not within a range of similar goods).
  • If it is not possible to determine all the material facts.
  • If the additional information requested was not provided in time.

If your rulings application was declined, you will learn the reasons as to why via communication from the CBSA in the same way you applied (i.e. via CCP, email or mail.) However, even if the CBSA declines your application, you can submit a new application after the issue(s) are no longer applicable.

A little compliance goes a long way...

When it comes to keeping your goods moving seamlessly, the more compliant you are with the CBSA, the easier it is. Rulings are a terrific way to not only help maintain good compliance but also ensure that you and the CBSA are on the same page when it comes to tariff classification. As is often the case, acting proactively and partnering with experience are the proven path to success. Customs brokers keep on top of your requirements and take proactive steps so you’re compliant at the border. Connect with us today.

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