A post-clearance audit is a structured examination of a trader’s relevant commercial systems and processes, financial and non-financial records, physical stock and other assets, as a means to measure and improve compliance.
It is conducted after the release of the goods from Customs control. It can take place at the traders’ premises or at Customs’ premises, and may take into account specific transactions, or cover imports and/or exports undertaken over a certain period of time.
The purpose of the post-clearance audit is to verify the accuracy and authenticity of declarations and other returns made to Singapore Customs.
How are companies selected?
All traders and declaring agents who deal with Singapore Customs may be subjected to post-clearance audits and are selected in accordance with our risk management framework.
What happens when a company is selected?
Typically, an audit will involve a series of steps:
Customs audit team will contact the company to be audited (“auditee”) to arrange for an interview with relevant personnel of the auditee. At the point of contact, the audit team will inform the auditee of the purpose, location, scope and requirements of the audit.
During the interview, the audit team will be interested to find out more about the auditee’s business model, operations, systems and accounting practices. Auditees are encouraged to take the opportunity to seek clarification on any issues about legislation and procedures administered by Singapore Customs.
After the interview, the audit team will verify the accuracy of the trade declarations and/or other returns made to Customs against the relevant trade documents to be provided by the auditee. Depending on the circumstances, this may be conducted at either Customs or the auditee’s premises. Examples of relevant trade documents include TradeNet permits, invoices, packing lists, bills of lading, air waybills, certificates of origin, payment records and product specifications.
Upon completion of the audit, the audit team will inform the auditee of the audit outcome and when applicable, discuss any errors detected and provide suggestions to improve the auditee’s compliance level.
Duration of Audit
The duration of audit will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the scope covered and the auditee’s level of cooperation.
Obligations of Auditees
Auditees are required under the relevant laws to provide Customs officers with reasonable assistance and cooperation to conduct the audit. This includes the submission of all required trade documents in a timely fashion and the duty to ensure that all information provided is true and accurate.
Traders are also reminded that they are required to retain for 5 years documents pertaining to import, export and transhipment of goods.
Rights of Auditees
Auditees have the right to see the Customs officers’ identification and authorisation at any time. They also have the right to expect professional and ethical behaviour from all Customs officers, and the right to expect Customs to maintain the confidentiality of the company’s information.