Section 243T Customs Act 1901 | False Statements Resulting in Loss of Duty


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The Legislation

Section 243T of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) deals with False Statements Resulting in Loss of Duty and is extracted below.

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243T False or misleading statements resulting in loss of duty

(1) If:

(a) a person:

(i) makes to an officer a statement (other than a statement in a cargo report or an outturn report), in respect of particular goods, that is false or misleading in a material particular; or
(ii) omits from a statement (other than a statement in a cargo report or an outturn report), in respect of particular goods, made to an officer any matter or thing without which the statement is false or misleading in a material particular; and

(b) either of the following applies:

(i) the amount of duty properly payable on the goods exceeds the amount of duty that would have been payable if the amount of duty were determined on the basis that the statement was not false or misleading;
(ii) the amount that would have been payable as a refund or drawback of duty on the goods if that amount had been determined on the basis that the statement was not false or misleading exceeds the amount of refund or drawback properly payable (which may be nil);
the owner of the goods (not being a person who is to be treated as the owner of the goods because that person is an agent of the owner) commits an offence.

(2) An offence against subsection (1) is an offence of strict liability.

(3) The penalty for a conviction for an offence against subsection (1) is an amount not more than the excess.

(4) Subsection (1) does not apply if:

(a) a person (other than an officer) voluntarily gives written notice (an error notice) to an officer doing duty in relation to the matter to which the statement relates, indicating that:

(i) the statement is false or misleading in a material particular; or
(ii) the statement is false or misleading in a material particular because of the omission of a matter or thing; and

(b) between the making of the statement and the person giving the error notice, a notice under section 214AD had not been given to:

(i) the owner of the goods (other than an agent in relation to the goods); or
(ii) if the statement was made by an agent of the owner—the agent who made the statement; and

(c) if subparagraph (1)(b)(i) would apply apart from this subsection—the duty properly payable on the goods is paid in full before either of the following happens:

(i) an infringement notice is served under Subdivision A of Division 5 on the owner of the goods for an offence against subsection (1);
(ii) proceedings are commenced against the owner of the goods for an offence against subsection (1); and

(d) if subparagraph (1)(b)(ii) would apply apart from this subsection and an amount of refund or drawback exceeding the amount (if any) properly payable has been paid before the time either of the following happens:

(i) an infringement notice is served under Subdivision A of Division 5 on the owner of the goods for an offence against subsection (1);
(ii) proceedings are commenced against the owner of the goods for an offence against subsection (1);
the excess has been repaid before that time.

(4A) For the purposes of paragraph (4)(a), the error notice is taken not to be given voluntarily if it is given after:

(a) an officer exercises a power under a Customs related law to verify information in the statement; or
(b) an infringement notice is served under Subdivision A of Division 5 on the owner of the goods for an offence against subsection (1); or
(c) proceedings are commenced against the owner of the goods for an offence against subsection (1).

(5) Subsection (1) does not apply to a statement made by a person to an officer if:

(a) the statement specifies that the person is uncertain about information included in the statement, and considers that, as a result of including that information, the statement might be false or misleading in a material particular; and
(b) the statement identifies the information whose inclusion might make the statement false or misleading in a material particular; and
(c) the statement sets out the reasons why the person is uncertain about the identified information.

(6) Subsection (1) does not apply to a statement made by a person to an officer if:

(a) the statement specifies that the person is uncertain whether, as a result of omitting information from the statement, the statement might be false or misleading in a material particular; and
(b) the statement identifies the omission of information that might make the statement false or misleading in a material particular; and
(c) the statement sets out the reasons for the person’s uncertainty about the effect of omitting the information.