Impact Publications : Aircargo-259
Page 16 • AIRCARGO ASIA-PACIFIC MAR-APR , 2019 NZ cracks down on infringement breaches after letting the trade off lightly with ‘relaxed approach’ LEGISLATION enact- ed last year in New Zealand introduced infringement notic- es to manage minor offending. NZ Customs www. customs.govt.nz has until now taken a relaxed approach to allow the new arrange- ments to bed in. But from the begin- ning of April, officers have issued notices that carry an instant fine of NZ$400 for an individual or NZ$800 for a business. There are 70 potential offences, all out- lined on the service’s web site. To issue a notice a Customs officer needs to have reason- able grounds to believe an offence has been commit- ted. There is scope for issuing a warning notice instead, if deemed appropriate. These are strict liability offenc- es, which means an individual or company has committed an offence even with no intention of doing so. There is no criminal conviction. If a duty payer makes an error in an entry and there is a revenue implication for Customs, they will also be charged compensatory interest. Recipients can pay the fee immediately or within 28 days. If no effort is made to pay, a remind- er notice will be issued, giving a further 28 days’ leeway. When this period expires the fee will be referred to the Ministry of Justice for fines collection and court costs added. The notice can also be disputed in writing, using forms available on the web site. Options are asking for the fine to be waived or re- questing an internal hearing and/ or court hearing. Valuation rulings Legislation in effect from late last year also introduced a val- uation rulings service which NZ Customs is implementing. Anthony Davis, its manager Trade Assurance, says valuation rulings help provide a level of assurance to businesses that they are compliant and, in some ways, are a safeguard to potential issues that could arise in future. “A valuation ruling doesn’t mean you’re less likely to get audited as part of Customs’ stand- ard process. How- ever, if you have relied on a ruling when valuing im- ported goods, the potential financial impact resulting from such Cus- toms activity is greatly reduced. “As this is a new service, we’re more than happy to have a discus- sion in the first instance to explain the benefits and process. Obtaining a valuation ruling is a cost-recovered service, but for the first two years this is at a rate of 80 per cent recovery.” A valuation ruling is a NZ Cus- toms decision - based on infor- mation provided by the importer - that explains which method should be used to establish the Customs value of goods or how a specific aspect of the available valuation methods should be interpreted and applied. It is a binding legal document that includes a summary and a de- tailed report on how the decision was reached. A ruling is generally valid for three years and will be honoured at all ports of entry within New Zealand. As the ruling is binding on NZ Customs as well as the importer, any debt due to the crown, or pen- alty, or seizure of goods cannot be imposed if an importer has relied on a ruling (provided all the relevant facts were disclosed with the application).