Commercial Payments and Accounts
Disbursements and Off-setting

The Canada Border Services Agency uses account off-setting, which means a disbursement 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 at the end of the payment period and before a Statement of Account is issued, reducing the total amount owing.

If after off-setting has occurred, a Customs account shows a credit balance and there is no debt associated with the account, a disbursement may be issued to the importer. However, a disbursement may only be issued if the credit balance exceeds the Agency threshold of $1,000. If it is less than $1,000, the account must have a credit balance for two consecutive months or longer.

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

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 disbursement be issued outside of the off-setting guidelines. Such a request must be submitted via the CARM mailbox for consideration, using the subject line "Disbursement Request".

If you have a question about a disbursement or your account, or if you believe a disbursement 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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