First Look

Customs continues to clamp down on breaches

Jamaica Customs Department | 2016-07-04 00:00:00

With the Automated System for Customs Data – ASYCUDA World – in full effect at the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), since April 1, 2016, the Agency is confident that it will be able to ‘clamp down’ even more effectively on importers who attempt to circumvent Customs regulations and take steps to evade Customs duties.

The implementation of ASYCUDA World requires that Cargo Manifest Declarations be submitted to the JCA prior to the arrival of the cargo, which has strengthened the risk management capabilities of the Agency.

CEO/Commissioner of the JCA, Major (Ret’d) says the Agency is urging importers, commercial and otherwise, to obey the regulations governing the importation of goods, in order to prevent being breached by the JCA.

According to Major Reese, the JCA has had to deal with several cases of breach, even though majority of the importers are compliant.

During the 2015/16 Financial Year, the JCA registered in excess of 700 breaches, covering both commercial and non-commercial imports. The additional duties, taxes and fees collected as a result of these breaches amounted to more than JA$35M, while penalties and fines related to these breaches amounted to more than JA$83M.

Since January this year, the JCA detected more than 100 breaches of break bulk and containarised shipments.
In most cases, it will be open to the importer to pay the applicable duties, taxes and deposit towards possible penalties, and clear the goods, pending the resolution of the breach.

The JCA continues to use several measures geared towards safeguarding the revenue and protecting the country’s borders from illicit or illegal imports including the use of modern cargo imaging devices and increased scrutiny via risk assessment of imports and importers.

Some of the common breaches found include: Under-invoicing (section 19); False Declarations (section 209); Undeclared Excess Goods (section 210, 211); Permit Breaches (section 210); Intellectual Property Rights Violations (section 40 & 44); and violations of the requirements of regulatory authorities, for which the entity undertakes agency functions.

Where a breach has been detected, the following procedures are applicable:

a) The importer may deposit with the Commissioner, the applicable penalty and may elect for mitigation. A letter from the importer outlining the circumstances in which the breach occurred may accompany the request for mitigation. This administrative procedure facilitates the efficient resolution of the breach without resorting to lengthy proceedings in the courts.

b) The importer may be charged for breach of the Customs Act and prosecuted in the courts.

As it pertains to specific cases of breach, the JCA cannot publicly discuss such matters, prior to the breach being finalised and/or the importer charged under the Customs Act.

Posted By :Dania Beckford

Company Name : Jamaica Customs Department

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