Red Alert! A Customs Audit May Be Closer Than You Think

Global forwarding customs audit infographic

A Customs Audit May Be Closer Than You Think | Transportfolio

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is stepping up enforcement of import trade compliance. As more and more companies are experiencing a Focused Assessment, you have to wonder whether your company might be next. Here’s a primer on who’s likely to be audited, and what you should do before, during, and after a visit from CBP.

So who is most likely to face a Focused Assessment? The top 5,000 entities in the U.S., who control 80% of imports, are one area of focus. But CBP also looks at as many other importers outside of those companies as their resources will allow. Other targets include companies with behavior patterns that are deemed to be potentially unlawful, those who have made even a single error in the past, and other importers at random.

Just about any importer, in other words, can be a target. Fines for trade-related transgressions depend on the seriousness of the infraction. They can range from fines up to $10,000 per entry for recordkeeping infractions to non-financial costs (e.g., shipment delays and diversion of your staff resources to correct problems) to other fees. In rare cases, you can lose your trade privileges.

Take these steps now to be better prepared before, during, and after a Focused Assessment.

ch robinson customs audit infographic

There are plenty of resources you can consult to learn more about Focused Assessments: our white paper on how to prepare for a Focused Assessment and the CBP website. You can also contact local and national trade associations, who may have training materials and case studies of organizations that have undergone a Focused Assessment. Finally, don’t try to do it all alone. Connecting with a Trusted Advisor with in depth customs expertise can be a great step to help you stay compliant.

Ben Bidwell
Director North Amercia Customs & Compliance
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