What is a Power of Attorney (POA) for return shipments?
Before your return shipments can re-enter Canada with Chit Chats you will need to sign a document called a Power of Attorney (POA). This POA allows Chit Chats and our customs broker to clear returns on your behalf. You’ll find the POA form in the Return Settings of your Chit Chats account.
Do I need to complete a POA?
You will only need to submit a POA if you want Chit Chats to manage your U.S. & international return shipments.
A POA is not required:
- To send shipments to the U.S. or internationally
- For Chit Chats to process Canadian return shipments
- If you manage your returns with your own U.S. return address
- If you prefer to dispose of your returns
Why do I need a POA?
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) views the return of shipments to Canada as an import of goods. For this reason, it is a CBSA requirement that a customs broker handles all goods returning to Canada. This means each return shipment we process at our U.S. return address must clear Canadian Customs before we can bring them back into Canada. It also means that we are only able to manage returns that you originally ship with our services.
In order for us to bring returns back on your behalf, you must submit a POA for broker approval. Once back in Canada, your return will receive further sorting and processing before we bill and send them back to you by your preferred return method. Return fees apply.
What happens to my return shipments if I haven’t submitted a POA?
If Chit Chats manages your return shipments, our customs broker will need to approve your POA before we can begin to process them. If we haven’t received a POA from you, you’ll notice that your return shipments show the “On Hold” status. We will also send you a reminder if we receive a return shipment for you. We’ll reach out to the email associated with your Chit Chats account so be sure to keep your contact information up to date
Due to limited storage capacity in our warehouse we can only hold return shipments for a maximum of 15 business days while you submit your POA to ensure that we are meeting our service levels.
- If you do not submit a POA within 15 business days we will dispose of the return shipments.
- If your POA is awaiting approval with our customs broker, we will hold your return shipments until we receive word of the approval and can process them.
What do I need to complete the POA?
To complete your POA, you will need the following:
- Your federal business number (nine digits, starting with 1, 7 or 8)
- The legal name and address of your business as registered in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) database.*
- The signatures of all registered business owners or officers of the company.
*Here, it is important that you provide an exact match of what the CRA has on record for your business rather than the information registered in your Chit Chats account.
How do I register for a federal business number?
Registering for a federal business number is free and as simple as going online or making a phone call to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at 1-800-959-5525. On average it takes 5-10 minutes to complete the call once you reach an agent. You can find live wait times on the CRA’s website.
Before you call, make sure to have your SIN number and other identification ready. You may be asked to answer a few questions about your business during the call.
If you do not currently own or help run a business, you still have the option to register with the CRA for their Import/Export program, which is needed to bring your returns back to Canada. For more information on what's required, please contact the CRA directly.
If you choose not to register for a business number, Chit Chats will be unable to manage your returns. You will need to add your own U.S. return address to manage your return shipments or you can opt to dispose of your returns instead.
My business doesn’t need to collect tax, why do I need a business number?
Registering for a federal business number does not change your tax responsibilities. Your business number simply identifies your corporation, sole proprietorship or partnership in Canada. It also allows you to enroll in programs with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) like Payroll, GST/HST, or Import/Export for return shipments.
Each CRA program creates a different sub-account for your federal business number account. This means that you can register for one CRA program (like Import/Export) without needing to register for all the others. For example:
- Business number: 888888888
- Importer sub-account number: RM0001
- Business number for importing: 888888888RM0001
Please note that a federal business number is different from your business licence number or provincial business number.
How do I submit a POA?
You’ll be directed to complete some details about your business. This business information is used to generate your POA form so take care to make sure this information is accurate.
After submitting your business information, you’ll need to download the POA form for all of the business owners to sign.
Once it’s been signed, a clear and legible PDF copy of the document must be uploaded for customer broker approval. To avoid delays, ensure that you have accurately completed the document before submitting your POA. If you need help with filing or uploading the POA, please contact us for assistance.
How long does it take to approve a POA?
Once you have submitted a completed and signed POA, approval with our customs broker can take up to 30 business days. Issues with your POA can delay approval which is why it is extremely important to complete the POA accurately. Don’t forget to sign the POA and ensure the information matches your business name as registered with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Please note that there may be delays as the pandemic puts a strain on CRA resources. Increased submissions have caused backlogs with our customs broker. However, you can rest assured that we will hold any return shipments received at our U.S. warehouse until your POA form is approved.
Once approved by our customs broker, your POA status will update from In-Review to Approved in the return settings of your Chit Chats account. We will also notify you by email. After approval, we can begin to process your return shipments and return them to you based on the return method you select.
What happens if my POA is rejected?
If our broker rejects your POA, we will notify you directly. You will be required to submit a revised POA for another review. Although it is not always clear why POAs get rejected, we will do our best to explain given the feedback from our customs broker.
The most common reasons that POAs are rejected include:
- The federal business number is missing or inaccurate
- Missing the full personal name
- Missing the full mailing address
- Name or business information does not exactly match the CRA’s database
- Using the wrong document format (only PDF is accepted)
- Invalid signature
- Signatures cannot be typed for this legal document
- Missing signatures
- Not all business owners have signed the POA
- Missing page 2 of the form
- Both pages must be uploaded as one PDF file
- The document is illegible or difficult to read
- Due to handwriting or how the document was scanned
We will not be able to process your return shipments until our broker approves your POA. In order to continue holding your returns at our U.S. facility, you will need to submit a revised POA along with any updated business information in your return settings. If we do not receive a POA from you within 15 business days of our email, we will have to dispose of your return.
After submitting your revised POA form, our broker estimates an additional 14 business days to review and approve. We highly recommend reviewing the POA form carefully to ensure the information matches the business registration information that is associated with the Canada Revenue Agency to avoid further delays.