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Section 240 Customs Act 1901
Failing to Keep Commercial Documents

Section 240 of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) deals with Failing to Keep Commercial Documents and is extracted below.

Our exceptional criminal lawyers are vastly experienced and highly successful in defending Customs Act cases.

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The Legislation

240 Commercial documents to be kept

(1) A person who is the owner of goods imported into Australia shall keep all the relevant commercial documents relating to the goods that came into that person’s possession or control before, or come into that person’s possession or control on or after, the entry of those goods for any purpose, being documents that are necessary to enable a Collector to satisfy himself or herself of the correctness of the particulars shown in the entry until:
(a) if the goods are not ultimately entered for home consumption—the goods cease to be subject to the control of Customs; and
(b) if the goods are entered, or ultimately entered, for home consumption—the expiration of the period of 5 years after the goods are so entered.
Penalty: 30 penalty units.

(1AA) A person who is the owner of goods imported into Australia must keep all the relevant commercial documents relating to the goods:
(a) that come into the person’s possession or control before, or come into the person’s possession or control on or after, a return is given to Customs under section 69, 70 or 105C in relation to those goods; and
(b) that are necessary to enable a Collector to satisfy himself or herself of the correctness of the particulars shown in the return;
until the end of the period of 5 years after the giving of the return.
Penalty: 30 penalty units.

(1A) A person who is the owner of goods exported from Australia must keep all the relevant commercial documents relating to the goods that:
(a) come into the person’s possession or control at any time; and
(b) are necessary to enable a Collector to satisfy himself or herself as to the correctness of information communicated by, or on behalf of, the person to Customs (whether in documentary or other form);
for the period of 5 years after the time when the goods were exported from Australia.
Penalty: 30 penalty units.

(1B) A person who, in Australia:
(a) causes goods to be imported into, or exported from, Australia; or
(b) receives goods that have been imported into, or are to be exported from, Australia;
must keep all the relevant commercial documents that come into the person’s possession or control at any time and relate to the goods concerned or to their carriage to or from Australia, being documents that are necessary to enable a Collector to satisfy himself or herself:
(c) whether the person is complying with a Customs related law; or
(d) as to the correctness of information communicated by, or on behalf of, the person to Customs (whether in documentary or other form);
for the period of 5 years from the time when the goods were imported into, or exported from, Australia.
Penalty: 30 penalty units.

(2) Where, in accordance with the requirement of any law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory or with ordinary commercial practice a document that would, but for this subsection, be required to be kept in accordance with subsection (1), (1AA), (1A) or (1B), is required by that law or practice to be surrendered to another person, this section shall be taken to be complied with if, at all times after the document is so surrendered and during the period that the document would have been required to be kept, a true copy of the document, certified in accordance with subsection (3), is kept in its stead.

(3) Where a person is required to surrender a commercial document referred to in subsection (1), (1AA), (1A) or (1B) to another person for a reason set out in subsection (2), the first mentioned person may make a true copy of the document and, if the first mentioned person does so, and attaches to the copy a certificate, signed by the first mentioned person:
(a) to the effect:
(i) that the copy is a true copy of the original document; and
(ii) that the original document has been surrendered to that other person for that reason; and
(b) providing particulars of the reason referred to in subparagraph (a)(ii);
the certified copy shall be treated by the CEO or a Collector, and shall be admissible in all courts, as if it were the original document.

(4) A person who is required by this section to keep a commercial document relating to particular goods may keep the document at any place (which may be a place outside Australia) and, subject to subsection (5), may keep the document in any form or store it in any manner.

(5) A person referred to in subsection (4) must:
(a) keep the document in such a manner as will enable a Collector readily to ascertain whether the goods have been properly described for the purpose of importation or exportation, as the case requires, and, in the case of goods entered for home consumption, properly valued or rated for duty; and
(b) if the document is in a language other than the English language—keep the document in such a way that a translation of the document into the English language can readily be made; or
(c) if the document is a record of information kept by a mechanical, electronic or other device—keep the record in such a way that a document setting out in the English language the information recorded or stored can be readily produced.
Penalty: 30 penalty units.

(6) An authorised officer may, by written notice given to a person who is required under this section to keep a commercial document, require the person to inform the officer within a reasonable period, and in a manner specified in the notice, of the whereabouts of the document.

(6A) If:
(a) a notice is given to a person under subsection (6); and
(b) the person fails to comply with the notice;
the person commits an offence punishable, on conviction, by a penalty not exceeding 30 penalty units.

(6B) A person who is required to keep a commercial document must not alter or deface the document.
Penalty: 30 penalty units.

(6C) A document is not taken to be altered or defaced for the purposes of subsection (6B) merely because a notation or marking is made on it in accordance with ordinary commercial practice.

(7) This section shall not require the keeping of any commercial documents:
(a) by a company that has gone into liquidation and that has been dissolved;
(b) by a class of persons that is declared by the regulations to be a class to which this section does not apply; or
(c) of a kind declared by the regulations to be commercial documents to which this section does not apply.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

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  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

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  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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