Canada: Changes to customs importer of record rules, implications for e-commerce importers
Certain businesses that will qualify as the “importer of record” may be liable to pay duties and taxes on e-commerce goods
Implications for e-commerce importers
Upcoming changes to the customs law may affect importers, intermediaries, and third-party logistics providers that are involved in the import of e-commerce goods into Canada. Under these measures, intermediaries and third-party logistics providers may also be responsible for duties and taxes related to these shipments, along with owners and importers.
Although these changes are not yet in effect, businesses may need to review their current business arrangements to evaluate the potential implications of these new measures and implement any necessary updates. The new measures could also affect federal and provincial tax collection and remittance obligations.
Under upcoming changes to the customs law, certain businesses that will qualify as the “importer of record,” a newly defined term, may be liable to pay duties and taxes on e-commerce goods, along with the owner of the goods at the time of release, and the importer or person authorized to pay the duties. As a result, the intermediaries and third-party logistics providers that qualify as importer of record will also be liable for duties and taxes payable at the time of customs accounting or from post-entry audit reassessments on certain shipments. These rules are scheduled to come into effect on a date to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
These changes were included in Bill C-19, which received Royal Assent on 23 June 2022.
Implications for Canadian resident and non-resident businesses
Canadian and foreign intermediaries and third-party logistics providers that assist with the imports of e-commerce goods into Canada may be jointly and severally, or solitarily liable to pay duties and taxes on these shipments under the new measures. As a result of the expanded importer liability, businesses may see an increase in post-entry compliance verifications, particularly around the valuation of imported goods. Intermediaries and third-party logistics providers may also see such an increase in post-entry reviews, even for transactions when they are not directly involved in the sale and the determination of the value of the imported goods. In addition, these changes may create greater uncertainty regarding which party (i.e., the importer, owner or intermediary) may be entitled to obtain refunds and credits for duties and taxes paid.
Read a September 2022 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Canada
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