Jo Why Lee

London - United Kingdom

    Clearing Canadian Customs For Your Import Export Business

    October 27, 2014

    The first thing that any business needs to do before embarking on importing any commercial property into Canada is to obtain an import/export business number from the Canadian Revenue Agency.  This will only be rewarded if very specific details of the items are provided. On occasion product samples may be required and you will need a tariff clarification number in order to determine the rate of duty payable on imported goods.  This applies whatever size of your company.


    Importing Goods

    It should go without saying that you must check that the goods you wish to import do not infringe upon D memorandum of the Canadian Border Services Agency’s import laws, details of which can be found at here.  These items include: Obscene material, hate propaganda, copyrighted books, used or second hand motor vehicles and aircraft, counterfeit goods and money and even used mattresses! The processes of importing into Canada can be extremely complicated and most businesses now appoint a Customs Broker to transact with Canada Border Services on their behalf.   A Customs Broker will gather all the information needed to meet the strict CBS requirements to ensure a successful importation, and ultimately save you time and money.   Companies such as Canadian customs specialists deal with importations by air, sea, and by road, such as truck or courier.

    What Tax You Need to Look Out For

    The time it takes for customs clearance varies depending on the mode of importation.  Generally speaking, shipment by air is a fairly quick process.  The airway bill allows goods to be processed for customs before they are even available for delivery.  Although the customs clearance process for truck shipments uses a pre-alert system, meaning that goods are cleared with customs as soon as the truck passes the Canadian border, customs requests cannot be processed until a Pre-Arrival Release System manifest has be received from transport.   The process of custom clearing ocean shipments can begin as soon as the PARS manifest has been received, but cannot be completed until the goods have arrived at port and unpacked into the warehouse. In order to collect and remit taxes, a Goods and Service Tax number will be required, and it is highly recommended that you acquire an Importer Number.  These can be obtained through the Canadian Revenue Agency. As a commercial importer you will only be required to pay for Federal Tax, which you can reclaim via input tax credits.

    Custom Brokers

    Other services that may be on offer from a Custom Broker that can include Less Than Truckload (LTL) and Full Truck Load (FTL) truck freight, Air and ocean freight forwarding car imports, discounter parcel services, e-commerce customs solutions and customs consulting.  You may be able to review the shipment before it is submitted to customs provided you consult your agent.  They also should be able to provide the B3 and invoice before the shipment is released.  What this means is that you are able to check for errors on your documentation and you’ll be able to make amendments within 72 hours.  After this time your custom broker would have to file a claim on your behalf.

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