Preparing for a (US) Customs Audit
Randi Waltuck, MBA, Lean 6 Sigma, LCB, International Customs Consulting
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All countries regulate the movement of goods across their borders. In most countries, this activity, for both import and exports, is governed by a Customs Agency or Customs Service, In the United States, since 2001’s 9/11, US imports are governed by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). Pre-dating 9/11, entering into force in 1994, the U. S. Customs Modernization Act (a Congressional ACT), known as “the Mod Act”, migrated the responsibility of adhering to all US import laws and regulations to a shared responsibility between CBP and the U.S. Importer.
As the party primarily responsible for adherence to these laws and regulations with respect to imported goods, the importer should have a robust internal control program surrounding all its import activities. However, the government does not rely solely on the importer to be wholly compliant, and, as part of its obligations to protect the federal revenue, has a robust audit program of its own. As of the time of this writing, US Customs, or CBP, has a program known as “Focused Assessment” or “FA”.
If you are a U S Importer of any size, it is more likely than not that, at some point, CBP will conduct an audit of your import operations and transactional compliance. This is a serious matter and should be handled with no less care and dedication than a tax/IRS audit, with appropriate resources and guidance. An unprepared importer can and most likely will suffer far greater penalties, up to and including loss of import privileges if not properly prepared. This course will guide you through all aspects of preparing for such an audit.
- Proactively enhance your internal control program
- Protect your company and the trade compliance employees
- Reduce levels of culpability
- Mitigate customs penalties
Seminar Fee Includes:
USB with seminar presentation
Hard copy of presentation
$100 Gift Cert for next seminar
- Understand the legal framework of a Customs Audit
- Learn “Do’s and Don’ts” when speaking to a Customs Auditor
- Identify strengths and weaknesses in your current Import/Customs Management program
- Learn how to access all your import data and proactively mitigate penalties
- Protect yourself and your company from escalation of culpability
Areas Covered in the Seminar:
- Focused Assessment Guidelines
- Pre-Assessment Phase
- Assessment Phase
- Post-Assessment Phase
- Customs Improvement Plan (CIP)
- Negligence, Gross Negligence and Fraud
- The Role of Prior Disclosures
- Protection under Attorney-Client Privilege
Who will Benefit:
All professionals who want to expand their knowledge in import/customs compliance, notably in the US, but truly across the globe would benefit greatly from attending this session. Knowing what the government is looking for and how they will look for it is essential to efficiently and effectively managing scarce resources to the most benefit.
|Day 1 (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
||Day 2 (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
- 8:30 – 9:00 AM: Registration
- 9:00 AM: Session Start Time
- Import Audits – CBP Point of View (“POV”)
- History of US Customs and the Mod Act
- What Is A Focused Assessment?
- How Customs Selects the Importer For A FA Review
- Notification Of Selection & The Questionnaire
- Corporate reporting structure for Customs transactions;
- Existence of internal controls, or in-house procedures associated with the entry, classification or valuation of imported goods, and related recordkeeping systems.
- How the company communicates important customs information throughout the company and to its outside vendors, and how it monitors its own compliance.
- The Advance Conference
- The Opening Conference And The PAS Phase
- Review of the Importer's Financial Transactions
- The Foreign Vendor Payment Report
- The General Ledger Report
- Comments On Records & Documentation
- Receiving report and Inventory records showing the merchandise entered into the inventory system.
- Accounts payable and disbursement record for the merchandise.
- Correspondence with foreign suppliers related to the merchandise purchased.
- In the case of related party transactions, documentation to support transaction value such as requests for quotation, market price analysis, and/or records of price negotiations.
- Records of all other payments associated with the import.
- The PAS Report & The Closeout Meeting
- The Assessment Compliance Testing ("ACT") Phase
- The FA Follow-Up Review
- Import Audit – Importer’s Point of View (“POV”)
- Import /Customs Internal Control Program
- Business Overview
- Management Commitment
- Roles & Responsibilities (all functions)
- Standard Internal Control Provisions
- Signature Authority
- Version Control
- Customs Management Areas
- Background & Principles
- Payment of Duties, Taxes & Fees
- Bonds & POAs
- Valuation & Quantity
- Product Marking & Labeling
- Special programs
- Other/Partner Government Agencies
- Broker Management
- Record Keeping
- Official Communications
- Self-Assessment Program
- Post-Entry Review & Correction
- Corporate and/or mini-Audit
- Periodic In-Depth Audit
- Training Program
- Resources (Internal & External)
- View of all Import Transactions
- Identification of Books & Records
- Assembling an Audit Response TEAM
- Invoking Privilege
- Prior Disclosures
- Audit Do's & Don't
- Preparing for PAS
- Review of the CBP FA Program
- Preparing for the Opening Meeting
- Distilled Program Preparation/Presentation
- Sample Transaction Preparation
- Connecting the Dots
- Keeping Management Informed
- Periodic Updates
- Periodic Meetings
- Avoiding Financial Surprises
- The Role of Reserves
- Estimable & Probable
- Managing a Customs Improvement Plan (CIP)
- Closing the Audit
Meet Your Instructor
||Randi Waltuck, MBA, Lean 6 Sigma, LCB
International Customs Consulting
Ms. Waltuck Barnett is a highly regarded global trade professional, having created and implemented global and domestic trade compliance programs across many industries for companies large and small. Her experience includes oversight of a $5B, 65-location division of Honeywell, a $3B, 17-location division of Motorola, Global Trade Optimization for Dell, Inc., among others.
Ms. Waltuck has worked in the international trade arena in various industries for nearly 20 years. Her professional accomplishments include multi-million dollar global supply chain savings under various legal theories, as well as end-to-end global trade mitigation processes and procedures, identifying “right sized” technology tools, including “compliance on a shoestring” practices.
She has served on councils and boards for various organizations, including the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI), the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT), is a charter-member of the International Compliance Professionals Association (ICPA), and a frequently sought-after trade and supply chain conference speaker for various well-known conference organizers, including the American Conference Institute (ACI), Marcus-Evans, and Richardson Conference Events.
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