Staying Compliant:

Why You Need a FIRM Report

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Trade Talk Blog • July 11, 2022
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s a Canadian importer, staying compliant with customs rules and regulations is vital to sustaining your credibility – and business as a whole. No matter how meticulous you may be, mistakes are prone to happen. Also, how can you ensure full compliance when you don’t have a dedicated compliance department, or you work with several representatives or customs brokers?

The answer is simple: you can request a FIRM report! Read on to understand FIRM reports, why they matter to you as a Canadian importer, and how to request them from CBSA.

What is a FIRM report?

There are many benefits of FIRM reports, but the three most crucial for you as an importer are:

  • It ensures accurate accounting to CBSA by verifying the report against your import documents.
  • It ensures you are claiming Free Trade Agreement (FTA) preferential rates on qualifying transactions by showing shipments where FTAs were applied.
  • It ensures decisions are being adhered to by comparing the report to Rulings or Verification decisions.

FIRM reports also help ensure your compliance with import rules and regulations.

The Benefits of FIRM reports

Anyone involved in the movement of goods into or out of Canada may be subject to penalties under the AMPS. This includes importers, exporters, carriers, and other parties involved in the movement of goods across Canada’s border. Penalties can be issued at the time of importation/exportation or post importation/exportation due to a customs verification.

It is worth noting that after criticism by the Auditor General of Canada, in 2019, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) increased penalty amounts issued under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System to encourage compliance within commercial trade.

How can FIRM reports help ensure my compliance?

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) generates FIRM reports based on your commercial importing data input on the Canada Customs Coding Form (B3). Because a FIRM report provides you with a total view of your import activity over a specified period, it allows you to identify errors or discrepancies in your reporting to CBSA (which is already evident to the Agency). This is especially helpful if you use more than one broker or service provider to account for your goods to CBSA.

Moreover, with the ever-changing nature of Canadian customs regulations, importers must stay updated with the latest changes and ensure their businesses are compliant. And understanding FIRM reports can help you ensure that your company is complying with Canada’s Customs Act and its regulations.

What are the requirements to request a FIRM report?

The information you will need to submit to obtain a FIRM report are:

  1. An Authorization to Release Information, in instances where your customs broker is filing the FIRM report request on your behalf. This authorization also allows your broker to represent you in accessing and managing your tax information.
  2. Your 9-digit Business Number (BN), for filing a request and for billing purposes
  3. Your Import/export (RM) account identifiers
  4. The date range of the requested data
  5. The address where the report is to be mailed
  6. A contact name and phone number
  7. Payment details – depending on the parameters of your request

Upon filing a request, a payment request will be issued by CBSA, depending on the parameters of your submission.

How do I request a FIRM report?

Requests and correspondences related to FIRM reports may be submitted via:

Canada Border Services Agency

220 – 4 Avenue SE, Room 430

Calgary, AB T2G 4X3

FIRM Report Request

How GHY can help

Requests and correspondences related to FIRM reports may be submitted via:

As your customs broker, we can assist you in requesting and understanding your FIRM report. We are available to review tariff classification, valuation of goods, and origin and advise you of regulatory and legislative changes that will impact your import activity. Contact our team today!

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