There are those importers who find themselves under the belief that duty rates are beyond their control. However, one of the ways an importer can use his or her whit and intelligence is known as "Tariff Engineering." The importing laws in the United States are for the most part narrowly tailored to a specific item. For example, you import an adult bicycle and there is a tariff duty rate for that bicycle. However, this strict construction of items based on a tariff may benefit the importer. That same adult bicycle[...]
Anything that is imported must be properly recorded - maintaining accuracy and validity of all the entry records you create. The government can always pop in unannounced and ask questions on your importations. The questions that arise are usually based on "Red Flags" they find via a database filled with information about factories, goods, people from across the globe. How long are you required to maintain records? 5 years after importation (drawback claims, 3 years after payment of drawback claim).What is Customs looking for? Could be anything but the most[...]
One of the main functions of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to collect duties. What are "duties"? Duties are a form of tax that an importer has an obligation to pay. Inherent in the payment of duties is liability to which the government defines to be a personal debt due from the importer to the U.S. that can only be discharged by paying the FULL amount. There is no haggling with Customs! Please be careful because the failure to pay your duties on time may result in an audit,[...]
Documentation is the first stage of the government's determination as to whether they will allow your product to cross the border. Further, these documents allow the government to assess duties and taxes on your container shipments. IMPORTERS ARE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACCURACY OF DOCUMENTATION PRESENTED TO THE GOVERNMENT, even if the documentation was prepared by someone else (i.e. customs broker or exporter). I cannot stress this enough. If the documentation is misleading, inaccurate, incomplete, or false the transaction is compromised and you will be held responsible. Problems with the[...]
Almost everything that your business imports into the U.S. must be declared to Customs. However, not all merchandise that enters the U.S. is subject to duty (tax or fee on imports) and/or importation restrictions. You must be careful because the failure to declare goods can result in civil penalties, customs seizures, forfeiture of your merchandise, and in some cases CRIMINAL LIABILITY! A failure to declare goods is not always intentional, it can happen by mistake through normal business practice. Customs does not understand the meaning of a "mistake," you will[...]
For my first post I thought it would be appropriate to begin with "Importer Responsibility." The laws of the United States relating to the importation of goods primarily place the responsibility on YOU! the importer, kinda sucks right. Whether the source of a problem is due to a foreign exporter's conduct, the United States has jurisdiction over you as the importer. As a result, importers must be cautious and not place all of their trust in the foreign exporter to know what to do. Building on the idea of responsibility,[...]
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