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How to Handle Customs Bond Claims Successfully

Customs bond claims can be time consuming and stressful unless you have the knowledge you need to maneuver the process effectively. Master the art of customs bond claims with these insider tips.

Bonds are Contractual Guarantees

You need to understand first that U.S. customs bonds, also known as import bonds, are contractual guarantees for your imports. Importers are promising that the principal will pay all money and duties owed. They also agree to adhere to all regulations when conducting business for your imports.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reviews and monitors import bonds. Conditions of a bond are set with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

What Happens if Bond Obligations Are Not Met?

If the principal does not meet bond obligations, a claim is filed against the bond for payment. Next, when the CBP files a claim for unpaid duties, the paid claim will cover those duties. Finally, when there are bond obligations that are not met, the CBP has the right to file legal actions against the importer.

Defaults on Customs Bond Claims

If an importer defaults on a bond, they have broken the bond agreement they agreed to when they received their import bond. When an importer defaults on a bond, Customs expects satisfaction of the bond amounts at this time. 

Types of Customs Bond Claims

There are four types of customs bond claims that should be on your radar:

Liquidated Damages

Liquidated damage claims specify the total amount of money one expects to receive with a broken contract. Dispute these damages at the port of entry where the issue arose through a petition.  A licensed customs broker can handle this petition for you. 

Supplemental Duty Bills

When liquidated duties are greater than paid duties, Customs issues a supplemental duty bill for the difference. Pay this bill 30 days after the listed bill date to avoid issues. Bond conditions state the principal and surety are liable for the payment of these bills.

Supplemental duty bills cannot be directly disputed but can be canceled or voided if there if a liquidated damage claim protest that rules in favor of the importer.

Debit Vouchers

If Customs does not honor a payment made, they will issue the importer a debit voucher. Debit voucher payments are due within 15 days before interest starts accruing.

Miscellaneous Bills

Customs issues miscellaneous bills to importers for port of entry harbor maintenance fees, overtime services of Customs employees and other reasons. The principal and surety are both responsible for the payment of these bills.

Types of Customs Bond Conditions

The following types of customs bond claims will result in repayments by importers:

Importation and Entry Bonds

Import bonds are also commonly referenced as importation or entry bonds. Many goods require bonds to qualify for entering us ports of entry.  Importation and entry bond conditions include agreements to:

  •   Pay taxes, duties and charges
  •   Examine merchandise
  •   Make or complete an import entry
  •   Redeliver conditionally released merchandise into the custody of Customs

Repayment of Erroneous Drawback Payment Bonds

Drawback payments, also known as duty drawbacks, are tax refunds from the government. These payments allow an importer to recover up to 99 percent of the duty paid on goods for importing. If there is an incorrect drawback payment, importers are responsible for repaying over claimed drawback duty payments.

Basic Custodial Bonds

A basic custodial bond requires U.S. Customs to make sure a bonded warehouse, carrier or container station adheres to all regulations when handling imports. The bond conditions include agreeing to:

  •   Authorized means of conveyance
  •   Redelivering merchandise to Customs
  •   Disposing of improper imports

International Carrier Bonds

These bonds ensure that international carriers follow all regulations when transporting imported goods. International carrier bond conditions include agreeing to:

  •   Comply with all laws and Customs regulations
  •   Pay penalties, duties, charges and taxes
  •   Provide cargo information

Airport Customs Security Area Bonds

These bonds make sure that any principal operating within the secured areas of an airport complies with all regulations.

Allow Customs Brokers to Handle Your Claims

The easiest way to handle and keep track of your claims and customs bond types is to enlist the services of a licensed customs broker to act as your agent for your imports and claims.

AFC International can take over the paperwork and attention to detail needed to handle your imports properly and in a timely manner. Connect with AFC International today to streamline your importing needs and take care of Customs regulations for you.