Frequently Asked Questions

What is ACROSS (Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System), and how does it work?

ACROSS is an EDI based customs release system. It allows customs release information to be electronically transmitted to and from Canada customs. Approved releases can then be transmitted directly to the carrier or through the broker.

If I receive written notification from Canada Customs that our company will be audited for compliance, what does it mean?

It means that customs has selected your company for information regarding your importing activity and any other relevant information. The scope of the review consists of two main components: 1. Program Compliance - To test the importers compliance with various customs related requirements, including the reporting of goods. 2. Systems Review (on-site review only) -- To examine the importers accounting systems and procedures related to Customs activities.

How do I know that my NAFTA certificates are on file, and are correct? I understand that Revenue Canada is scrutinizing the certificates more closely.

With Canada customs implementing the verification process (audit), one area they will review closely are correct and complete NAFTA certificates of origin. An invalid certificate will result in the importer having to pay the higher Most Favoured Nations (MFN) duty rates. Upon receipt of a corrected certificate, the importer can then file for a refund to recover the difference between the NAFTA duty rate and the MFN duty rate.

Do I need to complete a Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) to ship goods into Canada?

In most instances all you need is a commercial invoice (sales invoice). The information required to process a customs clearance is generally the name and address of the vendor and purchaser, a complete description of the goods, country of origin of the goods, quantity, value of the goods, and currency of settlement. Most of this information is given on the commercial invoice.

What are the advantages of using a customs broker?

You do not have to use the services of a customs broker when importing goods into Canada. However, unless you have security posted with Revenue Canada for the customs' release of your goods, you will have to prepare and present a fully completed entry at the clearance port, and pay the duty and tax owing. Most firms who consider the logistics and the complexities of self-clearance find it more prudent to out-source this service, as they do their accounting and/or legal services. Customs brokers already have the expertise in place, they have security posted with Revenue Canada and they have the facilities in place to release your goods anywhere in the country.

Are all brokerage rates standard?

No. A fee structure can be based on work performed, volume, payment pattern, etc.

Do I have to issue payment of duties and taxes every week or in advance?

No. There are alternatives such as a bond, GST letter and monthly payments.

We are a large company, why should we utilize the services of a smaller broker?

Larger brokers tend to communicate poorly, have trouble with consistency and application, and are not very adaptable to change. These problems are inherent with most large companies. A smaller highly automated broker can offer personalized service and can adapt to changing business environments. Smaller companies tend to be more innovative in terms of designing specific programs to meet customer needs. Also, lower overhead means savings can be passed on to importers.

Ellis Contact Info -- Selection Bar