The Customs & Excise Division is planning a crackdown on importers who undervalue their products.
Acting Comptroller of Customs Philmore Williams said the move will come as part of the Customs Renewal Information Process.
The ongoing process involves the training of staff to deal with valuation and invoices to identify such discrepancies.
Williams said despite not having actual statistics to show the frequency of such violations, he is confident that it is commonplace.
“To provide quantifiable data (on under-invoicing) we probably need a decent computer system that can do that. What we have presently I don’t think has the capability to actually quantify. What we do is keep that information every time we come across these things so we could eventually quantify it,” Williams said.
Williams said he recognises that an increasing number of residents are shopping on-line and from non-traditional sources, which could sometimes account for perceived under-invoicing but that most instances were still a case of blatant attempts to deceive.
“That is always a challenge and it is difficult to tell when the value is correct. We are aware and have found instances where the information on the invoices has been false,” Williams said.
The acting comptroller said in the absence of verifiable data, the department bases their valuations on past similar imports.
“We base our evaluation on sampling of what would have come through the system previously, and we look for consistency in those evaluations. So if we see if there is one of a similar year, all things considered, including the condition of the vehicle, then we are able to make a determination as to whether the value should be adjusted,” Williams said.