Audit Response Unit (ARU)


‘Your front line of defense’

Customs Audits are a very serious business and cannot be treated lightly. 

Seemingly innocent requests for information are often the tip of the iceberg, leading to in-depth audits with a wide-ranging scope and potential liability. Companies trying to go it alone without full knowledge of what may happen can be drawn into undesirable scenarios with expensive results.  

While some get lucky and suffer a minimal impact, we see quite a number of audits with the opposite result, culminating with very dramatic and costly conclusions.

In many cases, this can be prevented through:

  • Early Cole involvement,
  • Proper management and control of the situation as it unfolds, and 
  • In-depth experience with the audit process.

Cole’s answer to Customs Verifications

The Audit Response Unit (ARU)

When does the Audit Response Unit step in? Following a notice from CBSA requesting information with regards to a tariff, valuation, NAFTA investigation, or during a full compliance verification.  

ARU will liaison directly with Customs officials and help prepare documentation in response to requests. Our team will draw upon their extensive knowledge of Customs regulations and practices to resolve outstanding issues and to help customers avoid potential penalty assessments. 


Audit Response Unit Services

  • Interpreting Customs letters 
  • Challenging decisions
  • Ensuring you are represented by an experienced team that will act in your best interest
  • Minimizing exposure to penalties
  • Monitoring changing policies, both regionally and nationally, 
  • Confirming and ensuring uniform application of any precedents set in various regions across the country
  • Interpreting both the interim and final audit reports to help identify and determine if any changes are required to your business practices
  • Ensuring that you are represented fairly when working with Customs officials

At the first sign of a verification, we encourage you to contact Cole International’s Audit Response Unit (ARU) to discuss the CBSA’s request and the best way to respond.

With Cole in your corner, your verification is far more likely to have a favorable outcome. No matter the size or scope of the audit, our ARU should be involved from the outset. Drawing upon their extensive knowledge of customs regulations and practices, they’ll help you resolve issues and mitigate assessments and/or potential penalties.


Working For You

To ensure the best interests of your business are protected, Cole International’s ARU will:

  • Act as the primary liaison with CBSA Trade Compliance officers to ensure you are treated fairly
  • Provide a knowledgeable interface between CBSA and your firm
  • Interpret CBSA requests and help formulate strategic responses
  • Review all requested audit samples prior to submission and minimize the size of sample files wherever possible
  • Monitor and apply precedents set in various jurisdictions across the country
  • Respond to any requests for documentation, literature or other information
  • Review CBSA’s interim findings to mitigate potential assessments or penalties
  • Challenge unfavorable decisions and work to minimize the impact of the verification process
  • Provide a detailed risk analysis of CBSA’s final decision
  • Ensure existing databases are updated to reflect the verification findings
  • Provide best-practice recommendations for ongoing compliance

Customs Compliance

The most efficient way to ensure a favorable outcome to an audit is to avoid one from the outset.

Improve your Customs compliance before the CBSA surprises you with an audit. Cole International could save you the costs associated with non-compliance. Contact us to discuss your compliance needs today.