Do you export goods through the U.S.? Is it possible that you have done so without properly declaring those shipments to the Canadian Border Services Agency (“CBSA”)? If you have answered yes to these questions, then CBSA has given you an early Christmas present.
Generally speaking, when goods are shipped from Canada to the U.S. as the final destination, the exporter is not required to file an export declaration. On the other hand, when Canadian goods valued at $2,000 or more transit through the U.S. to a subsequent destination for consumption, then the exporter must file an export declaration.
On November 16, 2015, CBSA announced a six-month grace period, from December 1, 2015 to June 1, 2016, to companies who wish to voluntarily disclose exported shipments that transited through the U.S. to a third country that should have been reported, but were not. Companies that voluntarily disclose such unreported shipments will not be penalized.
CBSA is offering this six-month grace period because it has observed that a large number of businesses have been exporting goods to Mexico and other countries, transiting through the U.S. in the highway mode, without filing the requisite declarations. CBSA has further stated that once the grace period expires on June 1, 2016, then compliance verification activities will be conducted and penalties may be issued for failure to report exported goods.
The bottom line: now is the time to review your export practices because after June 1, 2016 there is, to paraphrase Paul Simon, no going back to Graceland.