Customs collections limitation period

A collections limitation period is the time in which the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can collect on a Customs debt.

The limitation period for Customs debts is 6 years and starts on the 91st day after the day the notice was sent. However, the limitation period can be restarted or extended when certain events occur.

Restart of the collections limitation period

The limitation period is restarted when either you or the CRA takes certain actions. When one of these action occurs the limitation period is restarted for another 6 years.

The following are examples of actions that will restart the collections limitation period:

Actions you initiate

  • make a voluntary payment
  • propose a payment arrangement
  • provide security instead of making a payment

Actions the CRA initiates

  • issues a garnishment or set-off to collect an outstanding debt
  • applies a tax refund (such as GST/HST credit refund) to your customs debt  
  • issues a notice of assessment or reassessment against a third party for amounts you owe
  • certifies your debt in the Federal Court of Canada
  • initiates seizure and sale action to collect your outstanding customs debt
Extension of the collections limitation period

The limitation period for customs debts can only be extended by an insolvency event (for example bankruptcy).

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