Is your import business ready for CARM?
The CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project is a multi-year initiative that will transform the collection of duties and taxes for goods imported into Canada.
Release 1 went live on May 25, 2021 and allows all importers to access their monthly account balances. Importers must register for the online portal, assign staff permissions, and delegate their broker.
There will be no impact to customs releases at the border until Release 2 in the spring of 2022.
Importers can use either GCKey or a sign-in partner to access the CARM portal. Once launched, importers can access the landing page and register. Each employee accessing the portal will require unique login credentials.
Accessing the business account
Importers required several pieces of information (available prior to accessing CARM account), including Legal Entity Name and Address.
Business must also be prepared to answer two of the following affinity questions:
Last statement of account balance
Last payment amount
Total duties and taxes (line 51 of B3) of one of the 5 most recent transactions
Linking individuals with the business account
Each user can have a predefined role assigned with preset permissions. Businesses should ensure that each role has a backup who is able to fulfill the same functions.
While importers are setting up the portal, it is important they establish well-defined on-boarding and off-boarding plans.
Business Account Manager (BAM)
- Full management access at the business and program account levels.
- Ability to accept new employees to the business and approve third-party relationships.
- Role should be assigned to an active operational user, not necessarily the owner of the company.
- Has a personal profile on the CARM Client Portal, but is not yet accepted as an employee of the business.
- Ability to create, edit, and view all transaction information
- Ability to see all transaction information but is unable to create or edit information
The digitization of CBSA processes is essential to keeping Canada’s economy competitive on the world stage. I am excited about the opportunities that CARM presents.
Chad Swance, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Trade Compliance
1. What has really changed for Release 1?
The CARM Portal will not change daily transactions. It will not impact releases at the border. Release 1 is a visibility platform with the additional capabilities of classification tools and rulings.
2. Who within my organization should be setting up the CARM PORTAL account?
Most businesses will create a partnership between their Trade Compliance team and their Accounts Payable team. Both teams are heavily impacted by the data contained in the portal.
3. What is the difference of between a PAM and BAM?
A BAM is a Business Account Manager and is responsible for all areas of a business within the portal. A PAM is a Program Account Manager and is only responsible for a subset of the business as defined by the BAM.
4. Do each BAM/PAM require a GCKey or can a company use one and share it?
Each individual should have their own unique sign in credentials. This allows for system traceability.
5. How many BAM’s/PAM’s are we able to have?
The CBSA recommends that businesses have at least two (2) Business Account Managers (BAMs). Businesses can assign Program Account Managers (PAMs) as needed.
6. Can a non-resident importer obtain a GCKey?
Yes. For instructions on how to sign up for a GCKey, follow the user guide.
7. Can a Broker pay on behalf of the clients?
For Release 1, there are no changes to the payment process. If a broker has been paying CBSA on behalf of its clients, the broker will continue to do. Under Release 2, the CBSA has indicated their intent to have all importers pay the CBSA directly.
8. Can an importer search for a Broker in the CARM login?
Yes. For instructions on delegation of authority, follow the guide.
9. What is the minimum amount of a Bond that we can apply for?
At present, the CBSA has indicated a minimum bond amount of $25,000.
10. Do each of my Business Numbers require a bond?
Yes. Every unique importer will require a minimum bond.
11. What is the difference between a BN9 and a BN15?
The BN15 is a 15-digit Business Number that uses the legal entity’s:
Unique 9-digit root
2-character program identifier (identifying the government program for which the business is registered)\
4-digit account number (an incremental number assigned to each account the business has within each program).
The BN15’s structure identifies the business via the root and keeps track of the programs for which the business is registered via the various suffixes.
12. How soon can I start setting up my CARM BOND ? Is a CARM BOND the same as a DUTY DIRECT BOND?
You can set up a CARM Bond after the CBSA provides the final regulations or terms and conditions to the surety companies who will underwrite the proposed bonds. At present, the only type of bond that a resident importer can obtain is a Duty bond.
13. Will there still be HVS and LVS shipments?
Yes. There will still be high value and low value shipments, including CLVS – courier low value shipments.
14. Where do I find the answers to the three questions posed during CARM portal registration process?
Importers should look at their Statement of Account. Importers should contact the CARM group to set up a Statement of Account.
15. How does CARM impact the CBSA Canada Customs Coding Form (B3)?
Under Release 2, the B3 will be replaced by the Commercial Accounting Declaration (CAD).
16. How does CARM impact CBSA refund and adjustment requests / Canada Customs Adjustment Request (B2)?
The B2 or amendment process will be replaced at Release 2 by the CAD version control.
17. Does the CARM portal allow importers to make electronic release requests for commercial import shipments, without the use of a broker/agent?
No. The CARM portal does not have the functionality to transmit a release request. The portal pertains to the accounting/financial aspects of the clearance.
18. My company contracts Kuehne+Nagel to manage all my import transactions and pay CBSA on my behalf. What remains the same under CARM? What are the major changes under CARM? Will Kuehne+Nagel still be my agent at the border?
Kuehne+Nagel will still be your agent at the border and submit all of the data necessary to clear and account for your imports. Under CARM, the importer will gain transactional visibility (Release 2) to your shipments at the border. Under CARM Release 2, the importer will be required to pay the CBSA directly through the portal.
19. What is the new name and contact co-ordinates for CBSA CARM GROUP? (for inquiries & support)
Importers can contact the CARM Client Support Helpdesk (CCSH) via their online web form or hotline.
20. Is one Business Account Manager (BAM) enough?
Importers should register more than one BAM for each importer account in their control. This redundancy provides vacation coverage and protects against unexpected absences.
21. How long does it take to register for a GC Key.
GC Key Registration is a process that takes most individuals less than 15 minutes.
22. Which business number should I register?
Ensure that you register each BN9 and RM extension that your organization imports under. Importers should validate their business numbers against recent B3 declarations.
23. I have a complicated business name. What should I do?
Many businesses are struggling with achieving an exact match to the CBSA’s database. If an entity is registered with the CRA as “ABC Ltd.” but entered into the CARM portal as “ABC Ltd” the user would receive an error. Importers can check their GST registry using the CRA’s GST Registry Tool.
24. How can I pass the transaction number validation question?
The CARM registration portal auto selects the transaction number for total duties and taxes. The value given cannot be a negative number. It will now accept 0.00. Companies who use multiple brokers to clear on their behalf may struggle with this data. Some companies have found that refreshing the screen or logging in an additional time has brought up a different transaction number. This enables them to enter a correct value.
25. Where can I find my last payment amount?
Importers who are GST and/or duty direct can look this up in their internal records. This question is particularly challenging for companies that do not pay the CBSA directly (GST and/or Duty Direct). Importers that are struggling with the data element can reach out to the CBSA for support using the online form or call 1-800-461-9999 menu option #2 (CARM).
26. Where can I find my statement of account balance?
Importers who are not duty or GST direct may opt in to receive Daily notices (DNs) and Statement of Account (SOA) documents directly from the CBSA. Importers can reach out to the CBSA for support using the online form or call 1-800-461-9999 menu option #2 (CARM).