This primarily involves tariff classification and you’re TPL (Tariff Parts Library). It will also involve landed costings, Customs TDN (Tariff Determinations), which purpose codes to use (i.e. whether duty paid or rebate clearances), certificate or permit requirements and how part numbers and descriptions must be captured. Many of these aspects will be communicated on the Clearing Instructions to your LSP on a shipment basis. However, it is a good idea to have a holistic discussion about these on a regular basis. For now, we will delve into the tariffing procedure and your TPL.
There are different approaches when aligning the tariffing procedure with your LSP. These mostly involve the process to be followed for tariffing, responsibility, liability in some cases and sources of information. Your decisions will be influenced by how you and your company view compliance, as mentioned in the Blog “A2 Who’s Responsibility is Self-Compliance”.
However, you should not allow issues pertaining to responsibility and liability to get in the way of one primary fact namely, that you must be compliant. The authorities are more concerned with the fact that the information must be correct.
Most TPL are built over time. As and when goods are imported, product codes and descriptions are added to the list and tariffed. What you end up with is a TPL. It will be a good idea for you to keep a central database of your TPL on your premises, especially if you use multiple logistics service providers. In this way you can ensure that different LSPs consistently use the same tariff headings when clearing the same products. It may also help you to monitor when an agent suddenly changes tariff headings. There would normally be a good reason for this. It also helps with consistency when you decide to move from one LSP to another, for whatever reason. You do not want a second or even a third LSP to start the process from afresh. This increases your risk.
For Traders participating in the PT (Preferred Trader) accreditation system, SARS will be interested in your TPL. They will conduct audits on your premises and that of your LSP. They will want to determine whether you and your LSP have the same information. This speaks to the concept of integrity. They will want to know that you are personally involved in establishing, auditing and maintaining the TPL, even if this is being managed by a third party.
Finally, always ensure that you receive periodic (i.e. monthly) updates from your LSP of new parts and tariffs that are added to the TPL.