NEWS Increased work volumes for voluntary disclosures

The Australian Border Force (ABF) manages voluntary disclosures made by companies about actual or suspected errors in import or export declarations.

The Voluntary Disclosures unit are experiencing a large increase in the number and complexity of voluntary disclosures and associated queries from industry.

In 2016-17, there has been a 20 per cent increase in the number of voluntary disclosures submitted to the ABF, with over $35 million in revenue being collected.

Due to the increased demand, the Voluntary Disclosures unit will be unable to respond to routine requests for status updates on voluntary disclosures already submitted unless there are exceptional circumstances.

A voluntary disclosure is a communication to the ABF—through a written error notice—of an error, omission or adjustment in a statement (excluding outturn or cargo reports) made to the ABF, such as an error in an import or export declaration.

A voluntary disclosure must disclose fully, truthfully and voluntarily, the details of the relevant import or export declarations and the nature of the errors. In making a voluntary disclosure, you are protected from offences in sections 243T and 243U of the Customs Act 1901 that relate to false or misleading statements.

Submitting a voluntary disclosure to the ABF will establish the relevant protections and the Voluntary Disclosures unit will contact you when processing is complete or if additional information is required.

If you want to make a voluntary disclosure, you should first review the relevant voluntary disclosures information. The Voluntary Disclosure unit can be contacted at vdi@border.gov.au if further advice is required.

Customs Compliance Branch is also working with industry members of the Compliance Advisory Group to improve the guidance information available on voluntary disclosures and this should be available in early 2018.