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Many benefits of having Customs Gold Card – John

Many benefits of having  Customs Gold Card – John

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Business persons who deal with the Customs and Excise Department on a regular basis are being encouraged to apply for the Customs Gold Card.

According to Comptroller of the Customs and Excise Department Grenville John, a Gold Card owner will be afforded certain benefits when conducting {{more}}business at the Customs.

John spoke about the Gold Card last Tuesday, January 27, at a session organized by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry of Commerce (SVGCIC), which was held at the conference room of the Ministry of Telecommunication, located in the CLICO building on Bay Street.

The session was designed to allow business persons to interact with top Customs officials.

Addressing the gathering, John said to become a Gold Card member, a business must be registered as a legal entity, must be registered under the Customs Asycuda World System and must have been in operation for over three years, as well as have in place proper accounting records and be a member of the SVGCIC.

“Once you are a Gold Card holder, you enjoy a lot of privileges. Goods will be processed through Customs in the quickest possible time. We want the Gold Card holders to be the envy of other businesses,” said John.

He said that while Customs will examine accounting records in order for businesses to become a Gold Card member, persons must not take this as an invasion of privacy, as the Customs will just do a preliminary assessment of accounting records.

“We just want to make sure that you are keeping proper records. You have to also be a good standing member of the Chamber and registered for VAT. This is the controversial part, we want you to allow Customs to conduct a preliminary review of your business. This is, we are saying that if you are an incorporated entity, you have been in operation for three years and registered, you must be keeping certain records and you must have recognized record keeping practices, so we just want to see that you have a record keeping in place, in the event that we have to do an audit,” explained John, who stressed, “persons need not be turned off by this aspect; we will come in and you will show us how records are being kept.”

He said that the Customs will also want to make sure businesses are compliant, “that is, presenting to the Customs documentation that is true and correct in every possible way. You have to agree to partner with us with certain obligations. You have to be transparent and show you have nothing to hide, if we want to see documentation quickly.”

John revealed also that even without the Gold Card application, the Customs Act of 1999 allows for the examination of the books of a company.

He said that the Gold Card programme was launched in October 2013 and currently only three businesses hold Gold Cards, “so we want to promote it more.”

Four persons at the meeting expressed interest in the Gold Card.

John added that Gold Card will benefit from stipulated release times for goods.

He noted that declarations of up to five lines, will be processed within three hours, while declarations between six and 25 lines will be processed in 24 hours. Declarations of over 25 lines will be processed within 48 hours.

“Persons know this is the best you can get in relation to release times and we are guaranteeing this. You will be given priority treatment. We will only examine if we have to,” said John, who added that examination of goods will only come in cases where licences are needed for import.

No fee is attached to the Gold Card and John says, “if you want to pay your fair share of taxes and help develop the country, there is no reason why you should not apply.”

The meeting was also attended by executive director of the SVGCIC Anthony Regisford, deputy comptrollers Samuel Thomas and Irwina Phills and the Customs’ Information Technology coordinator Clairmont Lynch.

Regisford said that that the Gold Card is a joint initiative between the Chamber and Customs and he encouraged persons to take up the offer.

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