Why is it important to have Customs compliance in a business? Shouldn’t other parties in the supply chain handle that for us?
Scope for Compliance
We live in a global market place. With trade agreements spanning entire regions its now much easier to move goods across borders.
This does not mean it’s safer to export or import, or that you could leave yourself open to dangers with non-compliance. Whichever Customs you are dealing with worldwide you need to approach with extreme caution.
What are the dangers?
Various Customs border controls can act all very differently to each other. The main functions of Customs are tax collection, control of people or goods and no hazardous or illegal goods enter.
Are you a large company or SME? Whatever your size the same considerations will apply.
Importer/Exporters can be subject to:
- Seizure of goods / destruction of goods
- Criminal proceedings
- ‘Blacklisting’ – you may lose authorisations you hold or may not be able to apply for such authorisations
- Loss of reputation
What can I do to protect myself?
The key point you should demonstrate is a willingness for Customs compliance as far as you are or were able to.
Everything you have done throughout your transaction, up to final receipt /delivery, importers/exporters should keep a record. Do not rely on external sources to back you up. Have everything on hand in the event of an audit or unexpected inspection.
A Customs team may find that you acted incorrectly or illegally. If an importer or exporter can show willingness to comply this will mitigate the situation.
In the UK Customs may audit you with this sort of questionnaire.
What benefits can I expect?
Good compliance is beneficial for all sizes of companies:
- Good trading relationship established with the Customs authority
- Importers pay the correct amount of tax
- Importers and exporters wasted less time and money correcting errors
- Smoother and quicker operations with third party logistics providers
- Greater control on your profit forecasting
Make sure to choose a reputable freight forwarding company to work on your behalf. As a result the wrong choice might mean YOU might be working to the best standards, but they might not be.