Focused on modernizing, streamlining, and transforming the way shipments are imported into Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is heading up a multi-year project that will change the way duties and taxes are collected on imported goods. Known as the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project, its core mission is to develop capabilities that will improve the importing process and enhance compliance.
According to the CBSA, the project will simplify the overall importing process, provide a modern interface for importing goods into Canada, give importers self-service access to their information, reduce the cost of importing into Canada, and improve consistency of compliance with trade rules.
One Stage at a Time
CARM is being implemented in stages, with the initial release of Accounts Receivable Ledger (ARL) in 2016 — involving the assessment and collection of payment owed to CBSA. This spring, the agency will launch the CARM Client Portal, a self-service tool to facilitate all import trade and revenue management processes with the CBSA.
The portal will be available to importers and customs brokers. Through it, users will be able to view transactions posted to their accounts; make payments by credit card or set up preauthorized debit; delegate portal access to employees and third parties (i.e., customs brokers and/or trade consultants) to manage commercial imports activities; request and track the progress of rulings electronically; and classify goods and estimate duties and taxes.
In spring of 2022, CBSA will make its expanded portal functionalities available to all trading partners.
A Major Shift for Some
Under development for several years, CARM is ramping up in 2021 as CBSA gets more importers using its portal on a self-service basis. For companies like DB Schenker, CARM will significantly change the way it does business with customers.
“Importers had the benefit of using the broker bond for release prior to payment privileges, under CARM, this will change,” said Vida Hanif, Manager, Client Services & Solutions, for DB Schenker in Toronto. “It’s going to be significant for all importers.”
Right now, any company importing goods into Canada should obtain a D120 customs bond in order to secure any duties and taxes that are owed on those imports. “Historically, we would support our customers in covering those fees on their behalf with the government,” Hanif explained.
“Through the new portal, CBSA wants importers to post security to their account directly with customs, and then create and manage their payments.”
Any company that hasn’t taken these steps by the time CARM goes live, will not be able to import into Canada. “We want them to get ahead of the game,” said Filomena Zelano, Solutions Manager, Customs Product for DB Schenker in Toronto, “and get the compliance process started sooner rather than later.”
Benefits of a Direct Portal
Shouldering the responsibility of duty and tax management, versus outsourcing the task to a competent third party, may sound undesirable, but Zelano said there are also some positives that will come from having a CBSA client portal. For example, importers will be able to classify their goods, submit ruling requests, and reconcile any payments with the government.
With fewer third parties involved in the collection of import tax and duties, the CBSA is also looking to streamline processes in the trade environment. Because the portal is automated, importers will be able to use it on a self-service basis that requires less hands-on attention from the CBSA itself.
“Giving importers a central repository to house all of their profile information, and to also obtain and extract that type of information from the portal, is definitely very forward-thinking,” said Hanif. “It’ll put more innovation in the hands of the importers that need it.”
Ready, Set, Go!
With the projected release of the CARM client portal now set for May 21, 2021 (it was originally set to launch in 2020, but was delayed due to the global pandemic), Zelano said DB Schenker is eager to test out the portal’s interface and then share that information with its customers. The company hopes to be able to offer several seminars, webinars, and other training opportunities to importers that want to learn how to navigate and use the new portal.
“Our client service team is highly experienced and ready to hold our customers’ hands through this transition,” Hanif added. “We’ll be reviewing each customer’s needs independently and then customizing solutions that will help them successfully transition into the new portal environment.”
DB Schenker is also providing importers with information on how to get set up with the portal and obtain a D120 bond. “We’ve assembled a dedicated, internal project management team,” Hanif said, “and we’re investing in the systems and people to keep a finger on the pulse as the CARM initiative unfolds, and as the government provides updates.”
As a leading global logistics company, DB Schenker offers single source comprehensive risk management & transportation compliance solutions, including cargo insurance, customs bonds, trade documentation, compliance, and training solutions. Its experienced Risk Solutions team assures shippers the lowest risk possible with risk assessment, cargo insurance for marine, air, and ground, and security/loss solutions, while DB Schenker’s import/export teams assure the smooth flow of freight through the global supply chain.