Clearit.ca's Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates
Have you ever wondered “What does a customs broker do?” Or maybe “Do I need a customs broker?” To some, paying customs broker fees might seem like an unnecessary cost. But once you understand exactly when a customs broker is useful and what they can do for you, you’ll be able to recognize the ways a customs broker could save you money on your future shipments.
What Does a Customs Broker Do?
Much like how a lawyer represents clients in court, a customs broker represents businesses at the Canadian border. A customs broker license is given by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to individuals specially trained to work with companies and individuals, ensuring that their imports comply with regulations and clear the border without delays. There are strict guidelines and laws put out by the CBSA, and a customs broker is fully trained and prepared to follow all of them. They are experts on Canada’s complex and ever-changing import regulations.
Thousands of items cross our borders every day. Without customs brokers, this wouldn’t be possible! Importers and exporters are expected to understand all the regulations involved with customs, but in reality there is a lot to know. Being on top of customs compliance while also managing a business is a headache that many companies alleviate with the help of their broker.
It’s the customs brokers job to arrange for payment of duties and taxes, process import and export documentation, follow customs regulations, sign documents, and clear customs on behalf of their clients. They also plan optimized routes, negotiate with transport companies and find the little places where you might be forgetting collect on money-saving allowances. We think they’re kind of like superheroes!
Do I need a customs broker?
Now that you know what customs brokers do, the important question that follows is Do I need a customs broker? Here, we’ll review the situations where the services of a customs broker are most useful.
Customs brokers smooth out the import process for your company. They are your representatives at the border – and work with the CBSA and handle face-to-face operations so you don’t have to.
When you have high import rates, it can be challenging to get clearance at the border, especially without sending someone for every shipment. With a customs broker, your imports are in good hands.
In addition, customs brokers pay duties as accurately as possible for every shipment. So if your company imports often and in large quantities, this saves you a huge amount of money over time. Any customs broker fees that you pay are really investments that get you savings later on.
Importing sensitive or regulated items
Trying your hand at clearing sensitive goods can be difficult and even risky for business. A customs broker’s expertise goes a long way when a minor oversight can cost your company its importing privileges. Pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, cars, arms, and tobacco require additional documentation, permits, and compliance with health and safety regulations. Customs brokers know how to navigate these complex regulations, helping you avoid complications and audits for such items.
Sometimes only a licensed customs broker can file particular declarations, such as when importing a car from the US into Canada. In these cases, the services of a customs broker are essential.
Whether you’re right next door or across the world, residing outside Canada shouldn’t stop you from trading in the Canadian marketplace. With the help of a licensed customs broker, you don’t need to have a physical presence in the country to import goods into Canada. As a non-resident importer, handing over operations at the border to a licensed customs broker protects your company from complications that might arise from unfamiliarity with Canadian import regulations.
Random or not, being audited by the CBSA can be stressful. Auditors look for demonstration of reasonable care in how imports are declared and tariffs are paid at the border. You can ensure reasonable care by taking appropriate measures to comply with regulations. This means that even if an error is found in the audit, the penalty you face may be reduced, simply by employing the services of a licensed customs broker.
Additionally, customs brokers can perform internal assessments to prepare your company for the event of a real audit. They advise you on how to strengthen your procedures to avoid fines and penalties.
In your corner
Customs brokers work hard to ensure that your shipments comply with the most up-to-date import regulations. At Clearit, our team of licensed and experienced customs brokers is happy to work with you to make importing hassle-free for your business.