Customs Department Processed 995 Refund Applications Last Fiscal Year


Statistics from the Collections and Accounts Unit of the Jamaica Customs Department have revealed that 995 refund applications were processed for the financial period dating April 2003 to March of this year.
Unit Manager Karen Fredericks said 832 of the refunds were for cases where persons were required to “do over entry forms” where imported goods were wrongly classified, duties were underpaid, or incorrect information was provided; 129 were instances where persons mistakenly paid duty twice for their imports; 15 where persons received the incorrect goods and wanted it returned to the supplier or shipped to another country where they might have identified a market for the goods; and 19 were for miscellaneous reasons.
Mrs. Fredericks’ comments came at a speakers’ session at a Tax Services Exposition organized by the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) and the Ministry of Finance and Planning, where she was a featured presenter. The exposition was held on Wednesday, May 5 at MIND’s Old Hope Road premises. The Jamaica Customs official told the audience that because instances where refunds would be necessary were always inevitable, “the refunds procedure is an integral part of the Customs operations and functions.”
She informed however, that the process had been “a concern of the Customs Department with respect to the amount of complaints we receive from the public to the length of time it takes to process a refund application” and in recent years, the department has been conducting research to streamline its operations and enhance trade facilitation so as to improve the overall system.
Highlighting one of the major contributors to delay in the refunds procedure, Mrs. Fredericks pointed to the protracted “time period for a broker or importer to supply relevant information and documents, which would assist us in finalizing the refunds.”
For refunds in cases where there is no need for a new entry form (C-78), such as instances were duties are overcharged or goods are short-shipped, persons are required to complete a C-28, which is a refund application form and this can be acquired from the customs broker. The refund form, along with the importers copy of the duty receipt, a copy of the airway bill to verify the port of entry of the goods, as well as a written letter to the Collector of Customs requesting a refund, will all be required for submission to initiate the refund procedure.
In a case where the importer received the wrong goods from the supplier, Mrs. Fredericks advised that, “duty would only be applicable on goods used for home or personal consumption.once you are going to export them aback, then you would get back your duty as it hasn’t been used in Jamaica.”
Therefore, if the importer does not wish to clear the goods but wants it returned to the supplier or has identified a foreign market for the goods, “permission has to be sought to export the goods.you have to get permission from the Collector of Customs and inform that you have located an export market,” she pointed out.
She added that: “once permission is granted, you are asked to fill out a drawback claim and because you are exporting the goods, you would have done so using a C-82 form, which is an export entry so we also require your copy of that export entry.”
Mrs. Fredericks said that processing should be smooth sailing once permission is received from the Collector and all the appropriate documents had been submitted.
Turning to the possible situation where an importer receives goods in excess of what is expected, she said “a completed new entry form is needed, in addition to the importer’s copy of the C-78 (commercial entry form) or C-79(private importation form), your written application to the Collector of Customs and a copy of the airway bill.”

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