The current legislation now requires that any customs broker attends regular training. This training can be as "classroom" sessions or internet courses, but all the training sessions are attached to a points structure. Individual brokers will be required to clock up a certain number of these CPD or Continuing Professional Development, points each year. In conjunction with the points system, Customs have stated that there is an intention to assess licensed brokers "due diligence" with checks to determine the extent of the issue. With all of these new rules and regulations, it does leave many importers asking who does the broker actually work for?
This can be a complex issue because while the importer who pays Customs brokers fees to make declarations, the freight forwarders tends to engage their services. Many importers never actually directly speak to a broker, as communication is done through the freight forwarder. In some cases, the importer may not even realise that they are being "represented" and this can create detrimental effects on their business. For example, is the importer aware if they are being charged the correct duty rates and if all concessions have been applied. Some importers may have taken for granted that the correct information has been passed to the customs broker and may not follow up.
The Danger to the Importer:
Unfortunately, if Customs use their follow up procedure and legislation find that a broker has not carried out their due diligence and incorrectly declared an import, they may issue penalties. However, as the importer, you may be asked to pay any tax and duty shortfall in addition to possible penalties. This creates a need for importers to have complete confidence in their Australia Post customs broker. As the system comes under greater scrutiny, a vague "my broker didnít ask that" reply is not likely to keep you out of financial trouble. In order to protect yourself and your business, you need to ensure that your broker is properly representing your interests, working for you to check that declarations are correct and accurate, and that your business is benefitting from any applicable concessions. Remember that if your freight forwarder does not appear to want to take the time to ask you questions, they could be cutting corners which will cost you in the long run.
If you are in need of a licensed customs broker, Australia importers should speak to us. We are a reputable customs broker that you can rely on. Our team of agents is available to answer any questions and ensure that you and your business are protected.