Customs declarations like any other type of return to Revenue are subject to audit. Up until now customs audits in Ireland, have not been front and centre for the Revenue Commissioners. When the Brexit dust settles and new trade practices emerge in the post-Brexit regime, compliance will become an everyday concern. It will not be enough to process your customs declarations in-house or by an agent, and wipe your hands of the transaction.
Customs declaration data must be retained along with commercial records and various licences. If Revenue want to inspect a company’s compliance, they may first conduct internal aspect queries without that company’s knowledge. If they wish to pursue their enquires, then Revenue will provide three weeks’ notice in writing to the company before a full customs audit. During the audit Revenue will require full cooperation from you and will expect full access to shipment documentation.
For a more comprehensive account of what to expect if you have received this notification please follow the link to the relevant Revenue webpage. https://www.revenue.ie/en/customs-traders-and-agents/customs-audit/what-happens-if-you-are-selected-for-audit.aspx
You must also allow Revenue staff to inspect your:
- business premises
- commercial records whether electronic or not
- manufacturing process (where applicable)
- certain items of your plant or stock.
The following should also be made available to the auditor:
- Sales and purchase orders, invoices and delivery notes.
- Sales and purchase ledgers.
- Stock records.
- Import and export licenses.
- Import and export approvals.
If the results of an audit are not favourable, then you do have the right to appeal. Solicitors McMahon Legal have given a concise account of the customs audit process and have provided information on the appeals process.
McMahon Legal (Brexit and Irish Guide)
What are the time limits for paying duties you owe?
If you owe money as a result of the audit, you have ten days from the date of issue of the written notification to pay. Interest may also be applied on any customs debt established in a post clearance audit.
If you are dissatisfied with the auditor’s conclusions, what can you do?
You should explain your position to the auditor. You have the right to be heard (right of reply) before an adverse decision is taken in relation to the payment of Customs Duty. If disagreement still exists, you have the right to appeal the decision.
Information on the customs appeal procedures is available in customs appeals.
Customs infringements, fines and penalties:
- Failure to submit a declaration (penalty €2,000)
- Late submission of a declaration (penalty €250 for each month for which a declaration is outstanding, subject to a max.
- Submission of an incorrect or incomplete declaration (penalty of €250)
- Not being in possession of documentation necessary to support an electronic declaration (penalty of €250)
- Failure to comply with any other provision of the Union Customs Code (penalty €250)
Customs record keeping
- Documentation and record keeping relating to shipments of all materials across international borders must be retained for 7 years.
- If documentation is off-site then it should be made available for audit with 24 hours.
- Freight forwarders or customs agents must be integrated into your record keeping procedure
- It is advisable to conduct internal audits with freight forwarders to ensure correct procedures are followed.
Customs gap analysis
- Supplier / customer contracts
- Customs classification – BTI applications
- Customs agent/broker requirement
- Customs standard operating procedures
- Deferred payments – Ireland TAN A/C – UK DAN A/C
- SAD instructions to customs agents
- Registration HMRC – EORI GB – UK VAT
- Origin/Simplified procedures application