If you are thinking about or have started importing foreign merchandise into the U.S. it is important to understand the many responsibilities you shoulder as the Importer of record. Arguably the most important decision you will make will be your Customs Broker.
Nowhere in the Constitution will you find language that gives anyone a right to import into the United States, only a privilege. And like any privilege, it can be revoked if abused.
In this business the largest cause of fines, penalties, and forfeitures of merchandise (and therefore your capital), come from the failure to exercise Reasonable Care in the proper filing of Customs entries as required by law. Reasonable Care, as explained in Section 484 of the Tariff Act states that the Importer of Record, solely, is responsible for filing a correct entry. An importer may enlist the services of an ‘expert’ which the regulations define as a licensed Customs Broker, Lawyer, or Certified Public Accountant. Failure to retain a competent Customs Broker with whom you have a personal relationship is not only a forfeiture of your responsibility, it exposes your business and profit margins to penalties ranging from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the offense. Simply having any Customs Broker, or a subrogated brokerage sold as an addendum to freight services no longer constitutes Reasonable Care. It is very important to take the time needed to retain a competent Customs Broker with whom you are comfortable.
Since 1996 we have helped many new importers get started on the right track with listening, coaching and advice to ensure they are protected to the best of our ability from unnecessary and often substantial costs. Click here to contact us for a free initial consultation on your new or next project.