What is AMPS?

The Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) allows the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to issue monetary penalties to anyone involved in the import or export of goods. This includes importers, exporters, carriers, freight forwarders, warehouse operators, and customs brokers.

AMPS was created by the CBSA to encourage compliance with import and export rules and regulations. It also serves to create a level playing field for Canadian businesses participating in international trade.

AMPS Penalties by the Numbers

In 2017, recommendations from the Auditor General’s Spring Report resulted in significant changes to CBSA’s processes and procedures, including increased border enforcement and compliance audits on importers.

AMPS penalties have continued to rise each year since. For example, AMPS contraventions in 2017 totaled $12,288,375 in penalties issued.

Assessment of Penalties

AMPS penalties result when a company fails to follow the rules and requirements of the Customs Act, Customs Tariff Act, and other government regulations.

CBSA maintains a Master Penalty Document listing all contraventions. It also describes the failure to comply and the associated penalty amount. Examples of non-compliance include:

  • Failure to pay duties
  • Not submitting required information and documents to the CBSA
  • Not reporting goods to the CBSA
  • Removing goods from a bonded warehouse prior to customs release by the CBSA

Penalties may be issued by a CBSA Officer at the border or through audit after customs release. Penalties may also result from a Trade Compliance Verification conducted by the CBSA. The CBSA manages trade compliance verification by conducting audits randomly or by identifying specific products as audit targets. See the latest target products:

 

CBSA Trade Compliance Targets 2021
 

What Happens if You Receive an AMPS Penalty?

If you are issued a penalty you will receive a Notice of Penalty Assessment (NPA) from the CBSA. The NPA will describe the reason for penalty assessment, the corresponding contravention number (e.g. C005), and the penalty amount incurred. The penalty structure is graduated and progressive, with increased penalty amounts for repeat occurrences. The maximum penalty amount for a single contravention is $25,000. 

CBSA maintains a record of contravention history for three (3) years. This can affect your business operations due to increased monitoring and inspections when importing or exporting goods.

How to Avoid Non-Compliance

Importers and exporters are ultimately responsible for providing accurate and complete information to the CBSA regarding their shipments. Therefore, understanding the requirements related to your imports and exports is the first step to remaining compliant.

Working with vendors and services suppliers, including Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders, and regularly reviewing your international trade activities will also help to avoid being fined under AMPS.

Finally, we recommend developing a compliance plan to ensure accurate records related to your imports and exports are maintained

We Can Help

Whether you require a Customs Broker to accurately classify and clear your goods or a Customs Consultant to help guide you through a compliance audit, we can help.

Contact your nearest PF Collins location today for help with all of your international shipping needs!

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