As global trade tensions rise, customs compliance becomes even more important. What might once have resulted in a warning, may in a more protectionists environment, result in goods being seized and/or heavy fines being issued.
At the same time, the Australian Border Force (ABF) is adopting a more sophisticated approach to its compliance activities. The ABF is more regularly adopting industry focused campaigns which enables it to develop specific knowledge of an industry sector.
CGT’s lawyers have advised importers and exporters over the past 15 years on a wide variety of customs compliance issues. CGT Law adopts a proactive approach which may involve steps to fully identify the issue, devise strategies to prevent future non-compliance and the making disclosure to the ABF.
CGT Law assists with the following customs compliance issues:
Tariff classification – Many ABF audits result in disputes over tariff classification. CGT Law assists customs brokers and importers with seeking tariff advices and review of decisions through Tribunals and the Courts
Dumping duty audits – A key focus area of the ABF is identifying underpayments of dumping duty. Dumping duty audits may result in disputes regarding the classification of the goods, whether goods fit within the description in the dumping notice, the rate of dumping duty that may apply and whether any exemptions are available. CGT’s lawyers have helped importers of aluminium extrusions, steel pipes, pallet racking and clear float glass.
Export compliance - Export restrictions can relate to biosecurity issues, defence, public policy or environmental issues. As trade pressures on exporters grow, so does the need for high levels of export compliance. We have assisted with export related seizures of goods, infringement notices and Commonwealth prosecutions.
Prohibited imports and exports – Australia imposes import and export restrictions on a variety of goods. Some restrictions are based on the type of good, such as asbestos, others are based on the country of origin or export and some restrictions are based on the parties to the transaction. The consequences of importing or exporting goods without a permit can be extreme including seizure of the goods and prosecution.
Customs valuation – Where customs or dumping duty is payable, the customs valuation of the goods becomes crucial. Customs valuation involves much more than merely identifying the invoice value of the goods. It is important to consider the following:
o Whether pricing is arm’s length
o Whether amounts need to be added to invoice price, such as royalties
o What amounts can be deducted from the invoice price, such as interest costs
o The impact of transfer pricing adjustments
Customs audits – A customs audit by the ABF can be daunting and intimidating. We have been through the audit process many times and can explain the process and help you prepare. We can undertake a pre-audit check to help you identify an issue before the ABF. This allows you to disclose the issues prior to the audit and manage potential penalties.