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It’s been two years since the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officially launched Release 1 of its new Canada Border Services Agency Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) Client Portal. Designed as a self-service tool, the portal facilitates accounting and revenue management processes for companies importing goods into Canada.
The basic portal functionality was only available to importers, brokers and trade consultants, with registered users being able to view their transactions and statements of account, request a ruling and pay invoices with new electronic payment options. The CBSA is now expanding
the CARM client portal functionalities by adding electronic commercial accounting declarations and the ability to make corrections and adjustments. The remaining trade chain partners (e.g., carriers, exporters, surety companies, etc.) will also be eligible to enroll in the portal.
To help importers adjust to the new requirements, DB Schenker is providing statement of account (SOA) information, which shippers can use to search for transactional information and be able to answer the affinity questions that are a mandatory part of the CARM portal registration process.
The DB Schenker Canada Customs team has been holding one-on-one sessions with these companies, walking them step-by-step through the CARM Client Portal registration process, showing them how to navigate the portal and explaining the new rules and functionalities.
In October, the CBSA will introduce CARM Release 2 and expand the functionalities of the Client Portal by adding electronic commercial accounting declarations with the ability for corrections and adjustments and new requirements related to the Release Prior to Payment (RPP) program. The new release will also include harmonized billing cycles and electronic management of appeals and compliance actions.
Three Core Changes
According to Claudia Veira, DB Schenker Canada’s senior manager, regulatory affairs and consulting, CARM Release 2 includes three significant changes that importers should be aware of. They are:
- New “Release Prior to Payment” requirements. The release prior to payment program already exists and allows participants to obtain the release of the goods from CBSA before the final accounting and payment of duties. Currently importers are permitted to use their customs broker’s bond to participate in RPP, but CARM Release Two requires importers to post their own security bonds. “This change is a significant one for importers as it means they will have to determine the correct amount for their security and obtain a bond from a surety company or their broker” said Veira, who adds that DB Schenker is fully able to provide that service for its clients.
- Digital Commercial Accounting Declaration. The Commercial Accounting Declaration (CAD), is a document that will cover all imports into Canada and all adjustment requests. Previously, when goods were imported into Canada, the adjustments were accounted for on the Customs Coding B3 form and any adjustments were documented on the B2 Adjustment form. Both of those documents are now being replaced by a single Commercial Accounting Declaration. “It’s going to make the reporting of goods and filing for changes easier because it will all be handled with one electronic document,” Veira added. “Once the goods are released, if there are any corrections or adjustments that need to be made, they will be made on the CAD and recorded as a new version of the original declaration.”
- A synchronized billing cycle. With CARM Release 2 there will also be a new billing cycle that aligns the CBSA’s various programs, including the high-value shipment, low-value shipment, courier low value shipments, customs self-assessment program and continuous transmission commodities programs. Previously, those programs all had different due dates. Beginning in October, the payment for all of those will be due 10 weekdays after the 17th of the calendar month. “It’s going to make revenue management certainly much easier for CBSA, but most importantly, much easier for the importer,” Veira said.
Register for the Portal Today to Avoid Delays
With CARM Release 2 right around the corner, importers should register for the portal and obtain their bonds—as required by the CBSA—as soon as possible, before the last-minute rush starts. “Familiarize yourselves with the portal and let your accounting team get familiar with it before your entire business is running through that portal,” Veira advised. “That way, you’ll be prepared before the actual change is in force.