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Customs compliance

Poor customs compliance can increase costs, slow supply chains, expose your business to liability including penalties and ultimately result in goods being held up at the border.  It may also prevent your business from participation in the Australian Trusted Trader Program. 

Customs compliance is important for a number of reasons – legally, commercially and operationally.  The Australian Border Force is taking a more sophisticated approach to customs compliance issues,  identifying greater instances of misuse of tariff concessions.  This approach has been helped by several Tribunal decisions supporting a very narrow reading of what goods are covered by tariff concession orders. 

Importers need to regularly review what concessions they have used and assess whether the use of concessions will stand up to review by the Australian Border Force. The compliance risk for importers and exporters include:

  • Incorrect classification or valuation of goods;
  • Incorrect utilisation of free trade agreements or other tariff concessions;
  • The import or export of controlled goods without a permit;
  • Including false information in import declarations (such as nominating the incorrect supplier); and
  • Moving goods prior to receiving customs approval.

It can be difficult to adequately review your level of customs compliance as the work performed is entirely by external customs brokers.  Most in-house lawyers or accountants have little experience in reviewing past customs entries, so unlike other areas of the business, it is not scrutinised.  We can help you take ownership of customs compliance by drafting and assisting with the implementation of policies, undertaking audits of past entities and informing you of key customs risks.

Where non-compliance is identified we can assist with:

  • Making voluntary disclosure to the Australian Border Force;
  • Seeking binding rulings on issues in dispute;
  • Implementing procedures to reduce the likelihood of future non-compliance;
  • Meeting with Australian Border Force officials;
  • Drafting submission in respect of penalties;
  • Drafting submissions in support of internal review of decisions that have been made; and
  • Appealing decisions to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Federal Court where necessary.

Other popular links

Free trade agreements | Customs and Transfer Pricing | Australian Trusted Trader Program | Anti Dumping and countervailing duty | Export trade compliance | Customs and Global Trade UPDATES

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