The resident or non-resident importer is responsible for reporting incoming shipments through ACI customs entry software to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and paying duties, taxes and other fees. Whether or not the importer hires a customs broker or another authorized agent to declare shipments on its behalf, the importer remains responsible for the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the submitted information.
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Importers must ensure that the products they plan to import are not prohibited from entering the country. Certain products require permits, licenses or certifications prior to import. The importer must obtain the permit/license from the appropriate government agency and meet all regulatory requirements. In addition, the importer must keep records and provide these records to the CBSA and other agencies during trade compliance audits.
Customs regulations constantly change and sometimes with little notice. It is therefore important to determine the admissibility of each product you plan to import into Canada before placing an order with suppliers or at the start of the new calendar year.
Obtain a detailed description of each product and identify the country of origin and Canadian import tariff classification number. The type of product, classification number and country of origin will tell you if the goods are subject to special requirements, restrictions, quotas, prohibitions or sanctions. The D9 series Memoranda lists all controlled, restricted and prohibited goods.
Communicate with your foreign supplier and find out if they can pack the goods using CBSA-approved materials and whether they meet labeling and marking requirements. Determine if the goods need a transportation permit. Lastly, determine the applicable tariff treatment, duty and tax for each product.
Businesses that wish to import goods into Canada must have a business number and a trade account number issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). For new importers, contact the CBSA for more details.
Importers are not required to hire a licensed customs broker to clear imported goods, but high-volume importers and large businesses often do so to simplify the clearance process. Customs brokers deal with government agencies and handle all import documentation. Determine if you are going to use the services of a broker/brokerage firm or self-file entry and accounting documentation with the CBSA.
Release After Full Accounting
Self-filers whose businesses are not located near a border/port and who are going to personally arrange for release and accounting on Form B3-3 must hire a CBSA bonded carrier to transport the shipment to a local sufferance warehouse. The carrier will give you an arrival notice, which must be presented to the local CBSA office with Form B3-3 and all other customs documents. You must also pay all applicable duties and taxes.
Even if you choose to clear your shipment without the help of a broker, you are still required to meet the CBSA’s eManifest requirements prior to the arrival of the goods. The carrier usually submits the eManifest data to the CBSA within specified timeframes depending on the mode of transport. The CBSA uses eManifest data (shipment, conveyance and crew information) to assess risk and determine admissibility. eManifest data and data in the entry form must match in order for customs to release the shipment.
Release Before Full Accounting
Self-filers can obtain immediate release of shipments before full accounting by posting security with the CBSA headquarters or their local CBSA office. Applicable duties and taxes must be paid within the next five business days after clearance. Release before full accounting is available only to self-filers who transmit electronic declarations to the CBSA.
Importers must obtain release from other government departments (OGDs) for certain products. For example, a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) release is required for food, plant, animal and agricultural products.
Ensure that all documentation required by customs are on hand and ready for submission. Communicate with your foreign supplier and obtain the Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) or commercial invoice containing CCI information, certificates of origin, confirmation of sale, freight invoice, bill of lading and other documents that determine the date and place of shipment.
Communicate with the carrier to ensure that information matches in the entry forms and eManifest documents, in particular the PARS number, if applicable. Make sure that you and the carrier submit the eManifest data to customs within the prescribed timeframes.
The CBSA and the carrier will notify you when PARS shipments have been released. If not using PARS, the carrier will notify you when the shipment has arrived at the CBSA office or warehouse. You will arrange for customs clearance at this point. Present form B3-3 and pay all duties, taxes and fees, unless you participate in a FTZ program. The CBSA will let you know if your shipment is released or held for examination.
Before the goods arrive in Canada, find out if you are going to hire a freight forwarder/broker to arrange for the transport of your shipment to your office or business or deal directly with a transportation company. When hiring a carrier, make sure that they are able to transmit eManifest data to the CBSA before arrival or loading at the foreign port. If you decide to hire a consolidator or freight forwarder, make sure that the company is CBSA registered and able to transmit advance house bill data to Customs within the prescribed timeframes.
Some imported products, such as drugs, tobacco and spirits, must be stored in a warehouse approved by the Government of Canada. Once the goods are in your office or place of business, you may still need to deal with the CBSA and other government agencies. FTZ program participants, for instance, must document inventory processes and the movement of goods. Duties and taxes must be paid when the products leave the warehouse and enter Canadian commerce. Goods that are exported from the warehouse are not subject to these fees.
Shipment and customs documents must be kept and maintained for at least seven years in case of audits.
ACI customs entry software is a must for customs brokers, high-volume importers, and self-filers who wish to obtain immediate release of goods before paying duties and taxes. Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is a CBSA-approved provider of industry leading ACI customs entry software and other trade facilitation solutions.
IID/CADEX connects importers directly to the CBSA for quick clearance of shipments. With IID/CADEX, you can send declarations online to CBSA and other agencies, and receive responses and clear your cargo within minutes. The Integrated Import Declaration (IID) is a single electronic report that will replace PARS and RMD (Release on Minimum Documentation) processes. Customs Automated Data Exchange (CADEX) allows importers and brokers to file B3 final accounting documents electronically with the CBSA.
Visit our ACI Customs Entry Software page today to learn more and get your 30-day free trial.