Custom declarations are an integral element of international trade. After all, you cannot expect to get your goods across the borders without proper paperwork. According to a World Customs Organization report, over 250 million import and export declarations grossing a value of over US$18 trillion were processed around the world in 2020 alone. You can imagine how significant they are to business owners operating in the international trade landscape.
You have to provide the information regarding goods being traded, with key details such as their value, origin, and destination. Missing out declarations can get you into trouble, from causing compliance penalties to stalling your consignments. As a business owner, you must stay ahead of customs declarations by ensuring accuracy and consistency. The good thing is that you can do it the easy way by following a few steps. Let us share the surefire tips to ensure flawless customs declarations.
Understand the rules and regulations
This one is a no-brainer because every country has specific customs regulations business owners need to comply with. These regulations include guidelines regarding declarations, so you must dig deep to understand what details you need to provide with your export or import consignments. You can find the necessary information online with a few clicks, so do not skimp on the effort. Steer clear of a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to preparing for the process because you may end up making expensive blunders.
Use the correct classification codes
Classification codes are perhaps the most complicated part of the export-import process. Every product has a unique code, and identifying it can be a hassle for a novice. The more products you export or import, the more complicated the process becomes. But you must use the correct codes in your declarations to get your consignments processed quickly and efficiently. Once again, spending time on research is the key, though you can rely on a broker to handle the task for you.
Customs declarations may seem complicated and daunting, considering the details and paperwork they entail. But maintaining detailed records of your exports and imports can help you keep things on track. You can check the past ones to work on new consignments without making mistakes or missing out on things. Further, well-maintained records can be your saviors if you face disputes or audits down the road. You may use them as legal evidence to present your case.
Collaborate with a customs broker
Collaborating with a customs broker is a great idea because they can help you manage every aspect of the process, including declarations. Look for the top customs broker because you can rely on their experience and expertise. They do all the heavy lifting if you run short of time or resources to do it yourself. Hiring them is a small price to save your consignments from delays and protect your business from unnecessary penalties. Moreover, you can focus on growth while they manage the repetitive documentation for you.
Be accurate and honest
Another tip to ensure flawless customs compliance is to be accurate and honest. Accuracy means providing the complete and correct information about the goods in your consignment. Typically, it should include details such as the quantity, description, and value of the products. Honesty is equally crucial, as false information can result in dire consequences, such as hefty penalties and the seizure of your consignment. It can also cause severe reputational damage to your business, which is the last thing you want to face.
Customs officials may inspect your consignments to double-check that they comply with regulations and verify the information on your declaration. You can expect an inspection even if your documentation is correct, complete, and honest. Being ready for inspections can help you deal with the surprise. You can ensure readiness with proper packaging and labeling. Also, have the necessary documentation on hand so that you need not get into a fix when the officials ask for them.
Stay up to date on changes
International trade is a dynamic landscape, and changes are inevitable. Having trade connections in different countries means dealing with more changes. But keeping pace with customs regulations and procedures of your business destinations keeps you in a safe space when it comes to compliance. Keep an eye on trade agreements, duty rates, and documentation requirements and adapt to them.
Complete and accurate customs declarations can keep your consignments and business on the right side of regulations. You also do not have to worry about penalties and delays at international borders. Follow these tips to ensure flawless declarations, regardless of the size and scale of your business.