Dubai Customs has launched a new voluntary disclosure program

On 11 August 2022, Dubai Customs launched a new voluntary disclosure program called the Self-Audit Findings. This program encourages importers and exporters in the Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to voluntarily disclose errors and report irregularities that may have been committed while reporting import and export Customs declarations. The aim is to increase Customs compliance levels among businesses based in Dubai and to strengthen trust and transparency.

One of the key advantages of using this service is to avoid any potential penalties associated with the discovered non-compliance transactions by Dubai Customs. The Self-Audit Findings application must be made before a notification of target Customs audit process.

Summary of the new process

Businesses can use this voluntary disclosure program to reveal errors and omissions made in their Customs declarations, that are in accordance with certain terms and conditions, in order to pay the number of differences in Customs duties within 15 days from submitting the online application. Below is the application criteria for the Self-Audit Findings service:

The program applies to all Dubai Customs registered businesses and individuals.

The service can be applied for at any time after the Customs clearance of the goods.

Submission of information must include all relevant details pertaining to the errors and omissions. 

Submission of information must be made before notice or commencement of the Customs audit process.

Key steps of the process
  1. Submit an application: Submit the self-audit form which is available on the Dubai Customs and Dubai Trade Portals upon login. Users will then need to submit their supporting documents.
  2. Notification: An automated notification from the Dubai Customs system will be sent to the user’s device (mobile phone, computer etc.), in addition to a ticket number for further follow-up.
  3. Completion of the process: Once the process is completed, no penalties will be imposed based on the Self-Audit Finding request.
Main takeaways
  1. This process will help importers and exporters have a level of compliance with the Customs rules and regulations.
  2. Where self-audit process is initiated, Dubai Customs will only claim the payment of the Customs duty associated with the error without imposing any penalties.
  3. In case an importer has been selected by Dubai Customs for an audit, any outcome of undercard errors and omissions and, in case the importer has not applied for the voluntary disclosure before communicating any potential target audit, Dubai Customs may aim to collect the Customs duty in addition to penalties.
Deloitte’s recommendation 

We recommend that Dubai based businesses, engaged in import/export activities, conduct a detailed review of their historical Customs transactions to identify any errors (e.g., underdeclared of the Customs duty liabilities in the historical transactions). Should these be detected, companies are recommended to evaluate the possibility of using the Self-Audit Findings application to avoid being audited by Dubai Customs and penalized.

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