Commercial Payments and Accounts
Refunds and Offsetting

The Canada Border Services Agency uses account offsetting, which means a refund is not issued for any credit amount if there is an outstanding debt on the client's account. All credit amounts owing to an importer are applied against debt on the client's account, reducing the total amount owing.

If an importer's account shows a credit balance and there is no outstanding debt associated to the account, a refund will be issued directly to the importer only in the following instances:

  • The credit balance is greater than or equal to $1,000.00; or
  • The credit balance is less than $1,000.00 and the previous month account balance also showed a credit balance (if the prior month does not show a credit, the credit will stay on the client's account); and
  • There is no outstanding debt associated to the account

Refund cheques will be mailed directly to the importer. Refund cheques will not be mailed to 'care of' broker or other agent.

Off-setting will follow an importer's use of an agent.

  • An importer credit that is associated with a specific customs broker will be used to off-set importer debt (amount owing) that is associated with that same customs broker.
  • An importer credit that is associated with an agent that is not a customs broker will be applied to importer debt that is not associated with a customs broker.

If an importer's account is in default and formal collection action has begun, any importer credit may be applied against any of the importer's debt.

Prior to issuing a statement of account (SOA), credits on an account will be used to off-set amounts owed to the Crown. The remaining balance is what will appear as the total payable on the SOA. Payment is due at month-end.

Only in exceptional circumstances will a refund be issued outside of the offsetting guidelines. Such a request must be submitted via the CARM mailbox for consideration.

If you believe a refund cheque has been lost or damaged, contact the CARM mailbox for assistance.

For more information on account off-setting, consult the CBSA Fact Sheet on Importer Account Off-Setting.
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