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CUSTOM AUDITS

The Dilendorf Law Firm provides strategic guidance to our clients who may be facing customs audits through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Under the Customs Modernization Act of 1993, any “importer of records” must use “reasonable care” when declaring the specifics about imported goods entering the U.S. marketplace. These details include classification, country of origin, valuation, and any applicable duty preference program. Audits are one way in which CBP verifies compliance and enforces their highest standards.

Importers with more than $100 million in import value become eligible for the most common audit, known as the Focused Assessment. The Focused Assessment requires a comprehensive review of the company’s records and documentation, proving that they have a system in place for compliance with U.S. Customs laws and regulations.

The customs attorneys at the Dilendorf Law Firm work with clients to ensure they have the appropriate compliance systems in place to follow CBP laws and regulations, and we help them navigate any Customs audits successfully.

Audits, Enforcement and Litigation

The CBP requirement of keeping accurate records is an important aspect of the agency’s regulatory focus, as well as ICE and other imported-related federal agencies. In order to comply with the agencies’ laws, importers must retain information long after the goods enter the United States, meaning compliance programs are a requirement in the event an audit occurs. Being vigilant about such details ensures an unobtrusive and efficient audit process, free from sanctions, penalties, forfeitures, and complaints of fraud.

Should a Customs audit result in a CBP penalty notice, companies must attempt to forestall the adverse and costly enforcement actions, including forfeitures of property and penalties. The Dilendorf Law Firm is well-equipped to implement an effective advocacy strategy that mitigates, contests, or entirely avoids complications arising from Customs audits.

When litigation is necessary, our firm instills confidence through an excellent track record of successful results. While our attorneys endeavor to avert uncertain or costly situations, their experience and involvement in virtually every level of criminal and civil litigation across a broad spectrum of courts, ensures strong representation at every stage of the case.

With the advent the Trusted Trader programs, along with C-TPAT, Customs has migrated many larger, Tier 1 accounts into audit-proof pools which, in turn, has allowed them to focus resources on auditing mid-level accounts. These second-tier importers, whose imported goods are valued between $50 – $100 million annually, make up 80 percent of all imports into the United States, should therefore consider themselves at higher risk for a Focused Assessment by CBP.

Importers undergoing a Customs audit would be wise to seek and retain an experienced customs laywer who will be involved with the audit process from beginning to end. The Dilendorf Law Firm provides importers with the strategic and nuanced thinking necessary to successfully navigate the audit process, mitigate liabilities, and understand their legal rights.

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