Import Penalties

Penalties for violating U.S. export control regulations and sanctions can apply to individuals, companies and institutions.

Most penalties arise due to improper determination of the classification, valuation, country of origin, or goods that are not invoiced or declared.

Customs may also assess liquidated damages if proper import procedures are not followed, or if goods are released, subsequently found to be inadmissible, and not redelivered to Customs' custody within allowable timeframes. In addition, Customs may assess penalties for false or negligent drawback claims and NAFTA certificates of origin.

Where penalties are imposed, the assessments are noted by Customs in its compliance database. This record reflects the importer's risk designation, and as a result, companies may find themselves subjected to more frequent Customs inspections and longer processing times.

Monetary penalty statute

The primary Customs monetary penalty statute is 19 U.S.C. § 1592 (penalties for fraud, gross negligence and negligence). Under the statute, Customs can assess monetary penalties up to the domestic value of the imported merchandise. In pertinent part, it provides that "without regard to whether the United States is or may be deprived of all or a portion of any lawful duty, tax, or fee thereby, no person, by fraud, gross negligence, or negligence — (a) may enter, introduce, or attempt to enter or introduce any merchandise into the commerce of the United States by means of (i) any document written or oral statement, or act which is material and false, or (ii) any omission which is material." more +

Pre-penalty notices

Certain types of violations require the issuance by CBP of a pre-penalty notice. more +

Penalty amounts

CBP requires payment of duties properly due that were underpaid or not paid at all as a result of the violation. In addition, 19 U.S.C. 592 provides for the assessment of penalties at a maximum of: more +

Failure to pay an administrative penalty can result in the initiation of a collection action by the Government in the Court of International Trade.

Relief petition

The Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures Office (FPFO) will permit the recipient of a penalty notice 60 days in which to file a petition for relief, making the argument as to why the penalty should not be imposed. more +

Penalties for violations of other regulations

In addition to CBP penalties, there are a host of other government department and agency regulations with which importers must comply. When a violation of these laws is discovered by CBP, in addition to or in lieu of seizure and/or referral for criminal prosecution, CBP has the option of assessing a personal penalty against the alleged violator.

Electronic export reporting

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued guidelines regarding the imposition and mitigation of penalties for violations of its export reporting regulations. In June 2008, CBP mandated that all required export information must be filed electronically; paper filings of shipper's export declarations would no longer be accepted. more +

The maximum penalty for violations of the electronic export filing regulations is $10,000, or $1,100 per day in the case of late filings. These penalties may be levied in addition to other applicable penalties that may arise from the export transaction.

For more information

For more information, call us toll-free 1-877-328-7866 (Intl: 716-881-2590) and talk to one of our foreign trade compliance consultants. Or send us an email.