The roles of post-clearance audit (PCA) in promoting compliance with customs procedures


17-June-2013

 Traditionally, it has been for this reason that imported goods become subject to customs control when they arrive in the port of entry. The imported goods will remain under customs control until all entire requirements have been fulfilled such as payment of duty and taxes. This process is sometimes lengthy and as part of modernising and carrying out  best practices the customs division has set up a post-clearance audit (PCA) unit. 

What is post-clearance audit?  
Post-clearance audit allows simplification of customs control. Modern practice is to change the approach of customs from transaction based controls to more comprehensive company oriented controls. Using risk management techniques in clearance procedures allows the majority of shipments to be released with minimal checking and only consignments that match pre-determined risk profiles are held for further review. Cargo that has been released immediately may be subject to post-clearance audit.

What are the three types of PCA?
The post-clearance audit  process has been developed to support three types of customs audit which involves customs programs meaning customs specialisations such as tariff classification, valuation, rules of origin and concessions .

• Desk Reviews (DR):  This is the review of a single customs program or partial program generally performed at customs facilities.  E.g review of tariff classification of one item (furniture) imported by the business for a specified duration.  

• Limited Scope Audit (LSA): This is an on-site audit at a client’s premise of a single customs program that is verifying one customs specialisation e.g. verifying concession provisions claimed from relief of taxes.

• Compliance Audit (CA): This is an on-site Audit of multiple customs programs to determine a client’s compliance within a specific commodity area. E.g. verify if goods imported are properly reported to customs and properly accounted for.  To determine this many customs programs/ specialisations have to be verified such as tariff classification, valuation of goods and others.

What does an importer (business) need to know before PCA is done?
(1) Customs Division (PCA Unit) will send an appropriate notification letter informing the client that the importer/business has been selected for customs post-clearance audit. The letter will contain important information such as:
• The type of audit
• Objectives/reasons of the audit
• The method to be used
• Information/document to be provided
• Audit period
• Information about the audit officer.

(2) For Limited Scope and Compliance Audits, an open interview will be required. The open interviews serve to educate the client about the audit process, explaining in detail the scope of the audit and identifying what is required in terms of co-operation and documentation. It is an opportunity for an importer/business to establish a working collaboration with customs. It also provides the opportunity to seek clarification on any issues pertinent to the business in relation to customs procedures and legislation.

(3) Post-clearance audit process helps the client/business assess the level of compliance with customs legislation and in doing so customs can provide the client with assistance on specific customs programmes or specialisation to increase compliance.
 
(4) The importer /business will be provided with a report of the audit, a description of the errors found along with requirements and recommendations which will help to assist in correcting these errors.
 
Why is it important to comply during the audit process (PCA)?
 It important to note, that Customs processes rely to a certain extent on voluntary compliance. In order for this to work, importer/business must be shown that compliance is a good business decision. The importer/business is responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the import declarations submitted to customs. 

The post-clearance audit is done in an open and transparent manner. Communication and co-operation between customs division and the importer /business is very important if the audit is to be successful. The importer/business will be kept informed on a regular basis during the audit process and the importer/business response in terms of cooperation and attitude during the audit are also included in the final report. Customs will provide client assistance helping the importer/business to comply and promote the benefits of a good compliance record.

For more information
You can contact Seychelles Revenue Commission on 4293737 or e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   or contact us at the following address: Seychelles Revenue Commission, PO Box 50, Orion Mall, Victoria.

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