CBSA Requests for Information
Trade Talk Blog • July 9, 2021
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n occasion, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) may require additional information on goods after they are imported and accounted for. After all, the Agency’s primary role is to ensure businesses are compliant with Canada’s import rules and regulations.

If you have imported your goods and paid the duties owing, you may still receive a notification from CBSA – anywhere from 90 days onwards – requesting additional information about your shipment. We understand that it can be a confusing moment for you.

This article will provide an overview of the two main types of requests for information you may receive from CBSA, why you may have received the request, and what you need to do when you receive it.

Why CBSA requests additional information

CBSA requests information to review, confirm, and/or verify import information on goods previously accounted for. There are various circumstances under which CBSA may contact importers or their customs broker(s) to request information about the imported goods.

Examples of requests can include but are not limited to valuation, tariff classification, Free Trade Agreements, anti-dump and countervailing subjectivity, and amendments to supporting documentation.

Types of Requests for Information

There are 2 main types of requests for information: email requests for information and trade verification audit letters. Let us go through them briefly.

Email Requests for Information

Email requests for information are usually sent to the customs broker directly and include the importer where possible. The most common email Requests for Information are related to Anti-Dumping and Countervailing (AD/CV) Duties.

Although your shipment may not be subject to AD/CV Duties, the goods may be classified under the same tariff classification as goods that are subject to these duties. CBSA may request additional information to review these goods and ensure that all duties are assessed correctly and paid.

From time to time, a Request for Information may come from other government departments or agencies such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or Health Canada. These requests are usually specific to one shipment, requesting missing or further information.

Trade Verification Audit Letters

You might also receive a request for a Trade Verification Audit Letter from CBSA. A request for a trade verification audit is communicated via a Notification Letter that is sent to the importer only.

Trade verifications are completed on Free Trade Agreements/Origin, tariff classification, valuation, and drawback.

What to Do When you Receive a Request for Information via Email

There are 3 main steps in the process for this form of Request for Information.

  • Step 1: Ensure you understand what is being requested of you and note when the information is due to the requestor.
  • Step 2: Gather the information required or contact your customs broker to work together on compiling it.
  • Step 3: Share the requested information with CBSA directly or through your customs broker.

What to Do When you Receive a Request for Information via a Letter?

There are 6 main steps in the process for this form of Request for Information.

  • Step 1:

    Ensure you understand what is being requested of you and note when the information is due to the requestor.

  • Step 2: The Notification Letter will include an Authorization to Share letter. By completing and submitting this letter, you will grant CBSA permission to communicate with us (or your designated broker) regarding the audit.
  • Step 3: Allow us to review the information and/or files requested by CBSA. Once we are approved to handle this request for information, we will review the information and share our feedback with you. If an error is discovered before the submission of the files, we will provide recommendations.
  • Step 4: Share the requested information with CBSA directly or through your customs broker.
  • Step 5: CBSA will send an Interim Report outlining their findings. You will have 30 days to respond with your agreement or disagreement with the findings. If you respond with additional information, the designated officer will consider it in determining their findings. If you do not respond with additional information, the Final Report will be issued.
  • Step 6: CBSA will issue the Final Report, including the findings identified in the Interim Report and any changes, additions, or corrections made. It will not include information or anything that has not already been shared with you. The Final Report will also show any errors on the reviewed transactions and any penalties being issued due to the audit. You will be required to correct errors of identical or similar goods for the Reassessment Period, as defined in the Final Report. Amendments are to be submitted within 90 days of the Final Report.

Whether you receive a Request for Information email or Trade Verification Audit letter, the Global Trade Services (GTS) team at GHY can help you avoid getting caught up in the paperwork and red tape that usually surround these situations.

Author

Kirsten Selby | Manager, GHY’s Canadian Trade Services

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