The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in Australia recently published DIBPN 2016/35, Voluntary Disclosures under Section 243T and Section 243U Customs Act 1901. In this notice, DIBP highlighted their commitment to working with industry to encourage higher levels of voluntary compliance by providing increased transparency to the regulatory trade environment.
A voluntary disclosure is the communication of a written notice of an error, omission or adjustment in statements made to DIBP. If you make such disclosures voluntarily, before DIBP instigates any queries or proceedings, you will likely be protected from penalties that would otherwise be imposed.
In line with the WTO Voluntary Compliance Framework, voluntary disclosures reward shared responsibility for customs and trade compliance in response to the growth in global trade and the challenges of targeting limited resources towards effective inspection efforts.
DIBP has emphasised that for non-compliant parties in international trade transactions who are demonstrably trying to comply, education and awareness treatment may be taken rather than, or in combination with, reduced punitive sanctions. Likewise, they also reiterated their continued efforts in carrying out compliance activities to detect errors or omissions and issue the most serious penalties for those who deliberately do not comply, or who are considered to have avoided their compliance responsibilities.
Fair enough you might be thinking. With all of the lead-up to the Australian Trusted Trader Programme, you would be forgiven for having developed some immunity following repeated exposure to the phrase “working with industry”, and similarly sterile synonyms. However, this new language is simply demonstrative of Australia’s commitment as a signatory to the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation to deliver practical measures that strengthen global trade through reduced regulatory and procedural burden.
If you’re reading this and wondering what exactly it is that you are being encouraged to disclose, and how errors or omissions on past declarations can be identified, our recently published blog on Compliance in Australia provides an indication. Tradewin has performed hundreds of risk assessments, which dive deep into your historical declaration and associated data to identify issues and to recognise areas that should be considered, or perhaps more regularly reviewed, and provide you with the tools to enable you to do so.
If any of the above has hit a nerve, or if you have any queries, get in touch with us today, and let us empower you to set the tone of your dealings with DIBP off on the right foot.