The Customs Self Assessment (CSA) program is designed for low-risk, pre-approved importers, carriers and registered drivers. To take advantage of the program, CSA-approved importers and carriers must use a registered driver to carry CSA-eligible goods into Canada in the highway mode. The CSA program simplifies many of the import border requirements so that low-risk shipments can be processed more quickly and efficiently at the border, saving businesses time and money. It also allows the CBSA to better focus its resources on identifying high-risk shipments that pose a potential threat to the health, safety or economic well-being of Canadians.

What we can do for you ?

If you are interested in becoming a customs self-assessment (CSA) importer program, please let us help you in this process. We can help you prepare your case for Canadian Self Assessment Program (CSA ) and help you manage the process through our CSA management service.

What is “Customs Self Assessment Program” ?

1. Importers

Participating importers can significantly reduce the cost of doing business with the CBSA by using their own business systems and processes, which must meet the CBSA’s requirements, to forward trade data and to report and remit payment of taxes and duties once a month to their own financial institutions. This self-assessment option represents significant cost savings because importers no longer have to remit payment at the time of each shipment. The CSA program provides many benefits for importers:

  • it ends the need to maintain separate and costly customs processes;
  • it reduces the number of transactional transmissions;
  • it aligns importers’ financial records with CBSA requirements;
  • it increases the certainty of expedited customs processing;
  • it facilitates compliance by increasing clients’ awareness of their obligations; and
  • it streamlines the process for legitimate trade.

Importers eligible to apply to the CSA program must meet these requirements:

  • they are residents of Canada or the United States;
  • they have a history of actively importing for at least 90 days;
  • they do not have a history of contraband or major commercial infractions;
  • they are prepared to make an investment in business systems; and
  • they are willing to provide senior management authorization that their books and records contain or will contain commercial business processes, customs interfaces and internal control procedures.

Application

There is a two-part application and approval process for importers.

Part I – Risk assessment

Importers will have to give detailed information such as the following:

  • a corporate structure and business number;
  • key business activities and products;
  • company policies related to risk management; and
  • upon request, a quarterly report or their most recent audited financial statements.

Part II – Books, records and business systems

Importers will be asked to demonstrate that their books, records and business systems have, or will have, the necessary internal controls and procedures — including linkages, controls and audit trails — to support CSA program requirements such as the following:

  • an account security number;
  • the accounting option selected;
  • an internal business monthly cut-off date;
  • a business system trigger for customs accounting;
  • a way to capture the receipt date in the commercial system;
  • a way to distinguish commercial importations from domestic purchases; and
  • a sweep process to account for goods not accounted for by the trigger.

Accounting

Approved CSA importers are responsible for their self-assessment and for reporting related revenues to the CBSA. In the CSA environment, the K84 form is eliminated. Instead the importer must submit a monthly revenue summary form to report to the CBSA on revenue from the importation of commercial goods into Canada. This report includes the amounts related to the accounting for goods, adjustments, refunds, drawback, interest, penalties and other CBSA assessments. CSA-approved importers then pay any duties and taxes owing at a financial institution.

2. Approved Carriers

Participating carriers and registered drivers in the highway mode have the option of clearing CSA-eligible goods more quickly at the border once identification confirms that the importer, carrier and driver have been pre-approved. With this streamlined clearance process, transactional transmissions of data related to eligible goods are no longer needed. The CSA program provides many benefits to carriers:

  • it ends the transactional transmission of data elements;
  • it increases the certainty of expedited customs processing;
  • it makes it easier for carriers to meet their obligations; and
  • it streamlines the process for legitimate trade.

Eligibility

Carriers eligible to apply to the CSA program must meet these requirements:

  • they are bonded ($25,000.00 and over);
  • they have a history of transporting goods to or from Canada for at least 90 days;
  • they do not have a history of contraband or major commercial infractions;
  • they are willing to be liable for and maintain control of all shipments, including CSA-approved shipments, until goods are released; and
  • they are willing to provide senior management authorization that proper commercial business processes and audit trails will support CSA program requirements.

Dispatch system Requirement

A dispatch system, be it manual or electronic, is a cornerstone of the CSA program. Only carriers that own and control their own dispatch system are eligible to apply. Applications from carriers who have contracted a third party or service provider to manage their dispatch system may be refused. Carriers must demonstrate that they track and record all shipment details (pick-up location and date, delivery location and date, description of goods, etc.) and control all their shipments with an internally generated sequential trip/pro/control number that is assigned to a shipment the moment the order is booked.

3. Drivers

CSA-approved importers and carriers must use a registered driver to carry CSA-eligible goo

ds into Canada.

Become a CDRP- or FAST-approved Driver

Commercial drivers can be approved under the Commercial Driver Registration Program (CDRP) or the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program. Both programs have a rigorous pre-screening process.

Using the FAST Lane

The FAST lane may be used if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the importer is FAST-approved;
  • the carrier is FAST-approved;
  • all goods on-board are CSA-eligible goods; and
  • the driver is CDRP- or FAST-approved.

Drivers can use the FAST lane when returning to Canada as long as the following applies:

  • there are no goods on board;
  • the driver is CDRP- or FAST-approved; and
  • the carrier is FAST-approved.
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