On 17 October 2016, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) issued Notice № 2016/35, Voluntary disclosures under Section 243T and Section 243U Customs Act 1901 which provides guidance on what a voluntary disclosure is, what it can cover, and how to make a submission. The submission, called an error notice, must disclose fully, truthfully and of the submitter’s own accord, the details of the relevant import or export declaration(s) and the nature of the error(s). If the disclosure results in additional duty and taxes, the outstanding amount must be paid. If a voluntary disclosure is made, the person making it is protected from offences in sections 243T and 243U of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) that relate to false or misleading statements.

A voluntary disclosure is the communication to DIBP through a written notice of an error (error notice), omission or adjustment in a statement (excluding outturn or cargo reports). Examples of an identified error or omission include:

  • an error or omission in the customs value, including:
    • failure to include a price related cost when calculating the customs value of goods
    • incorrect adjustments to the customs value relating to transfer pricing
  • an incorrect tariff classification
  • an incorrectly applied Tariff Concession Order.

An error notice is not taken to be given voluntarily if:

  • given after an officer exercises a power under a customs-related law to verify the information in the statement (such as a 214AD notice); or
  • an infringement notice for an offence against sections 243T or 243U is issued in relation to the statement; or
  • proceedings have commenced against an offence within sections 243T or 243U in relation to the statement.

An error notice can be made by amending a declaration in the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) or through a written declaration to an Australian Border Force (ABF) Officer outlining the nature of the errors and the relevant declarations.

After providing an error notice to DIBP and depending upon the nature of the error, omission or adjustment, you might also be asked to provide additional information to assist in the processing of a voluntary disclosure.

For more information, visit www.border.gov.au/voluntarydisclosures. If a holder of the broker’s licence becomes aware that information that has been provided to DIBP by or on behalf of a client of the broker is false, misleading or incomplete, the broker must, as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the error or omission provide written particulars of the incident to DIBP.