18 February 2008
A fast-track system for processing imported goods is being extended to thousands of Jersey’s businesses and residents following consultation with local importers.
Customs and Immigration are inviting all regular commercial importers and large-scale private importers to apply for Customs Approved Trader status. Approved traders will be able to take immediate possession of their imported goods and will have 30 days following the importation in which to make a customs declaration and to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Customs and excise duties.
Currently, only 28 importers have Customs approved trader status but it is estimated that approximately 3,000 businesses and individuals could qualify for this status.
Under normal circumstances GST-registered businesses will be required to pay all duties and GST on their imports before the goods are released. They will be able to make claims for credit or repayment of the GST they have paid only at three-monthly intervals.
However, GST-registered businesses that are also Customs-approved will have a 30-day period of grace in which to make customs declarations and pay customs duties and tariffs. In addition, they will not be required to make declaration for or pay any GST on their goods at the point of import. They will simply need to record the total value of their imports on their quarterly GST returns, saving them administrative time and benefiting their cash-flow situation.
Director of Customs and Excise, David Nurse explained: “The new measures will enable rapid clearance of imported goods and minimise delays and congestion at the ports. We are moving to an electronic system which will further improve our overall service to importers, strengthen our audit function and improve our controls on illegal imports.”
When declaring and paying the 3% GST, both commercial and private importers will now be able to make customs declarations and payments on-line at https://www.customs.gst.gov.je . Payment can also be made at the Customs Headquarters. Shipping agents also have access to the Customs systems, which will automatically authorise the release of goods under fast-track arrangements, or as soon as a satisfactory declaration and payment has been made. The system will benefit private importers by allowing declarations and payments to be made prior to the arrival of goods, thereby ensuring the immediate release of goods from Customs control.
Customs will work to a discretionary £12 de minimis limit of duties and taxes, below which no charges may be made. This means that if the total amount of duties and GST on a single consignment is less than £12, payment may be waived by the Agent of the Impôts.
David Nurse continued: “These changes will greatly assist importers, whether they are large commercial concerns or private individuals. They will minimise the time that goods are held after import and will reduce the administrative burden on importers.
Customs staff will also be freed from office-bound tasks, enabling them to be redeployed on the proactive auditing of approved traders and other revenue protection and anti-smuggling work.”
I should stress, however, that the Customs approved trader scheme, which will play a vital part in improving our service to the business community, is based on trust. Those who decide to join the scheme will have to give undertakings to make proper declarations and to make payments on time. The facility will be audited and immediately withdrawn from those who abuse it.”
1. For Further information please contact Assistant Director, Gary Le Neveu or David Nurse (Director) on 448000 from Tuesday 19 February onwards.
2. The Approved Trader Status will be granted at the discretion of the Agent of the Impôts. From today, any person or business regularly importing goods can apply by creating an account on https://www.customs.gst.gov.je. The Customs computer system will, in the future, automatically recognise regular importers and issue invitations to join the scheme and all businesses registering for GST will receive a similar invitation.
3. Existing Customs approved traders will be required to reapply for Customs approval.
4. For the purposes of GST, the value of a consignment will include any customs and excise duties and the cost of packaging, freighting and insurance.
5. A Customs Service information booklet‘A fast-track system for imports by Customs approved traders’ has been produced to give details of the Customs approved trader scheme and other changes to import procedures. A separate information booklet ‘A guide for private importers’ has been produced also for the general public. These can be viewed on the Customs section of http://www.gov.je/gst and are also available as hard copies from The Customer Service Centre, Cyril Le Marquand House, The Parade, St Helier, or from The Customs and Immigration Service, Maritime House, La Route du Port Elizabeth, St Helier.
6) Current statistics show that there are over 120,000 consignments totalling in excess of 170,000 tonnes imported into Jersey each year. Under GST legislation, all imported goods will be subject to GST charges of three per cent (3%), based on their value at the point of import and the GST on imports will be collected by the Customs and Immigration Service on behalf of the Comptroller Income Tax.