A Customs audit is an evaluation of company practices and records. The audit assists in judging the integrity of information supplied under self-assessment and the level of compliance with legislative requirements.
As an importer or exporter, you are legally responsible for the accuracy of information supplied to Customs, even though you must use a Customs Broker to prepare and lodge your declarations. For your own protection, ensure you examine and retain all documents supplied to Customs, check them for accuracy, and advise your broker of any errors.
To help business move goods quickly, Customs cannot scrutinise every transaction. Instead audits are used to confirm the integrity of information supplied to us. Customs principal objective is to maximise voluntary compliance and eliminate future errors.
We want to help you achieve and sustain compliance over time - not just improve compliance on "hit-and-miss" basis. This means you need to look carefully at all your customs-related business systems, processes, and procedures.
A likely audit follows these steps:
Customs has identified some of the more common reasons for reduced compliance.
All relevant commercial documents must be retained for five years from the date of the transaction with Customs.
All costs associated with the goods are legally required to be considered when determining the Customs value. These may include costs relating to advertising, assists, commissions, credits, escalation charges, indirect payments, rebates, research and development or royalties.
Customs provides a valuation advice service for importers. Applications accompanied by supporting evidence should be lodged with Customs.
Confirmation of country of origin is required in order to claim preferential rates of duty.
The value of goods can be influenced by related party transactions. An adjustment for the value may be needed.
Errors may occur if all relevant information is not passed on to the person selected to assist in clearing your goods.
The importer's TC number must be used on all import entries for that entity.
Remember, every person dealing with Customs has a chance of being audited. If you make false or misleading statements to Customs you will face the prospect of the imposition of sanctions, up to and including prosecution in a Court of law.