A customs audit is the examination of accounts and other business records. It verifies the compliance of the business with the relevant legislation and Revenue requirements. The electronic declaration facilitates importers and exporters by relieving them of lodging documents to a customs station.

Revenue assumes that all customs declarations submitted contain the correct information. As misdeclarations are possible, it is necessary to validate a selection of declarations by audit to confirm compliance.

If your trading activities include imports, exports or both, to or from a non European Union (EU) country you may be subject to a customs audit.

What happens if you are selected for audit?

You will be given at least three weeks notice in writing of our intention to carry out an audit. We will also send you details of the following:

  • Name of the officials who will carry out the audit.
  • Date and time of the audit.
  • Trading period to be audited.

The auditor will provide you with an initial list of custom declaration (SAD) numbers within the trading period to be audited. You must have all supporting documents for these customs declarations. You must also allow Revenue staff to inspect your:

  • business premises
  • commercial records whether electronic or not
  • manufacturing process (where applicable)
  • certain items of your plant or stock.

The following should also be made available to the auditor:

  • Sales and purchase orders, invoices and delivery notes.
  • Sales and purchase ledgers.
  • Journals.
  • Stock records.
  • Import and export licenses.
  • Import and export approvals.

Next: What happens during the audit?

What happens during the audit?

An audit generally involves the following:

  • On arrival, the auditors will identify themselves and let you know how long the audit will last. The audit will generally last no more than one week.
  • The auditors will ask you questions about your book-keeping and how your business operates.
  • The auditors will examine your books and records, to validate your records against customs declarations.
  • If adjustments are required, these will be discussed with you and you will also be notified in writing.
  • If discrepancies are identified in your control systems the auditor will outline the issues and discuss proposals to correct them.

The auditor may request any documentation relating to your customs declarations made in the preceding three years. However, an auditor usually selects an audit period of between three and six months within that time. The audit may highlight discrepancies. In this case the auditor may increase the scope of the audit to include further declarations either side of this period.

Next: What are the time limits for paying duties you owe?

What are the time limits for paying duties you owe?

If you owe money as a result of the audit, you have ten days from the date of issue of the written notification to pay. Interest may also be applied on any customs debt established in a post clearance audit.

If you are dissatisfied with the auditor’s conclusions, what can you do?

You should explain your position to the auditor. You have the right to be heard (right of reply) before an adverse decision is taken in relation to the payment of Customs Duty. If disagreement still exists you have the right to appeal the decision.

Information on the customs appeal procedures is available in customs appeals.

Further information

If you need further information contact your Revenue office.



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