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A Specialist


What is AMPS?

              The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) is introducing a new penalty system the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).  AMPS is an important part of the Customs Action Plan initiatives that will modernize the CCRA's customs program.  It is a system of monetary penalties that will address non-compliance with customs legislative, regulatory or program requirements.  We will issue these penalties administratively.  This means that the process of issuing an AMPS penalty is similar to a police officer issuing a ticket to a motorist for speeding.

Why do we need AMPS?

         We need to broaden the scope of the existing penalties to deal with various levels of infractions, including those that are of a technical or a non-revenue nature.  We also need a modern sanctions regime to support the implementation of the Customs Action Plan.

 What will AMPS cover?

         AMPS will apply to any contravention of the Customs Act, the Customs Tariff, and the Special Import Measures Act, or any regulations made under these acts.  The penalties will also apply to those who fail to meet the terms and conditions of licensing agreements and undertakings. When AMPS is implemented, we will only use the seizure and forfeiture provisions for the most serious contraventions.

 How will penalties be assessed?

          Penalties may be assessed at a flat rate, or as a percentage of the value for duty of the goods involved in the contravention.  Penalties range from very moderate amounts to a maximum of $25,000 for a single contravention.  Compliance history will be a factor in assessing penalties, and increased penalties will apply to repeat violations.  A second incident of the same infraction may result in a higher penalty, with a third or subsequent infraction resulting in a penalty that is higher again. 

Examples of AMPS penalties

       Commercial importers who fail to report imported goods valued at $1600 or more, will be assessed a penalty as follows: 

?SPAN style="FONT: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">         1st occurrence  
$1000 or 5% of value for duty-whichever is greater

?SPAN style="FONT: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">         2 nd occurrence  
$2000 or 10% of value for duty-whichever is greater

?SPAN style="FONT: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">         3 rd occurrence  
$3000 or 20% of value for duty-whichever is greater 

How are these penalties issued?

      We are developing an automated penalty assessment process that customs officers will use to issue and record all penalty assessments.  The automated system will link the contravention to the penalty level, calculate the penalty amount, and record the penalty in the client's compliance history.  The system will also record any changes to the penalty assessment that may come as a result of a decision regarding correction or redress requests.  When determining the level of the penalty, we will not take into account non-compliance before implementation of the legislation.  Everyone will start with a clean slate. 

What about the detention of goods?

          When commercial importers and carriers receive an AMPS penalty, we will not usually detain the goods for the payment of the penalty—unless we have had a previous problem with their payment of duties or penalties owing. 

What about appeal rights?

           A person may file a written request to the Minister of National Revenue for a review of penalties assessed within 90 days from the date of the contravention.  The Minister's decision may be further appealed to the Federal Court.  We will also have an informal regional correction process.  If an obvious error occurred when a penalty was issued, the regional customs office can amend or cancel the penalty within 30 days. 

Getting ready for AMPS implementation?

        If you are involved in the importation or exportation of goods and you continue to be compliant in meeting your customs requirements, AMPS will not affect you.  If you are unsure that your business record system and procedures meet customs requirements, you may want to conduct an internal audit or compliance check to verify that your business is well positioned to welcome an audit.

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