Tax and Duty Flexibility could be Lifeline for Canadian Businesses

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CIFFA Letter to Canada Revenue Agency and to Canada Border Services Agency, requesting consideration of an extension in the payment of duties and taxes to the Government of Canada this month and in the months moving forward. Flexibility in the area of payment of duties and taxes could very well be a lifeline for many Canadian businesses and is necessary now. (Copy of Letter)

Att. John Ossowski, President, Canadian Border Service Agency, John.Ossowski@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca

Att. Bob Hamilton, Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency, bob.hamilton@canada.ca

Att. Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, Diane.Lebouthillier@parl.gc.ca  

March 27, 2020.

The Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) represents some 260 regular member firms from the largest of global multi-national freight forwarding firms to small and medium sized Canadian companies. CIFFA member companies employ tens of thousands of highly skilled international trade and transportation specialists. Many of these companies operate Customs Brokerage divisions, addressing the clearance process for goods that they handle amongst others.

CIFFA is in support of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB) letter dated March 22nd, requesting consideration of an extension in the payment of duties and taxes to the Government of Canada this month and in the months moving forward. Flexibility in the area of payment of duties and taxes could very well be a lifeline for many Canadian businesses and is necessary now.

On March 22 importers and customs brokers who manage payment of duties and taxes to the Government of Canada received notice which indicates that there will be no relief from the obligation to remit in full duties and taxes on the due date of April 1st:

“Importers, or brokers acting on their behalf, are still required to submit accounting declarations within the required timeframes. At this time, the CBSA expects importers and customs brokers to submit their payments for March 2020 Statements of Account on the due date of April 1, 2020 for payment of duties and GST. The Government of Canada will continue to monitor evolving economic conditions and seek other relief options should they be necessary.”

On the March 25th Commercial Update to Industry Stakeholders, the CBSA incorrectly addressed the concern with reference to Customs Notice 20-10 to the question: “As the retailers have been deemed non-essential services and are very concerned about the financial impact of the closure on their business with diminished cash flows, which may impact payment to the receiver general, will consideration be given to deferred or late payment?” Late Accounting Penalties deferred on the accounting for goods does not address the significant issue that importers face with amounts owing on their SOA. 

The reality is that it will not only take more time to process payments, but also more time to collect from importers due to their processing challenges as they support the government’s call to action in response to the pandemic.  We request that the CBSA and CRA provide urgent consideration to an extension of importer government remittance this month and beyond.

Sincerely,

Julia Kuzeljevich                      Public Affairs Manager, CIFFA

Bruce Rodgers                        Executive Director, CIFFA