While it might not seem urgent to a company just entering the import business, incorrectly classifying goods brought into Canada can compound as the stream of imports grows and, if not spotted in time, end up costing them in overpaid duty they can’t recover or penalties for underpaid duty.
Even seasoned importers don’t always pay enough attention to their imports’ classifications. For example, a poor translation into English cost one company that was importing gears when it incorrectly identified them as grease dispensers on the customs documents. The mistake went unnoticed for several years and resulted in a retroactive assessment of more than $50,000 in duty plus interest.
John Pajek is a Senior Manager in Trade & Customs practice with KPMG Enterprise in Toronto.