Tag: duties

Jewelry seized by CBP for failure to declare

Failure to declare violations nets CBP Chicago $1.4 million

CBP in Chicago is touting the revenue increase for dutiable goods by collecting duties and penalties from traveler’s who fail to declare the goods when they arrive in the United States. Here’s the story:

Officers in secondary screening are charged with enforcing duties travelers must pay for the items they bring back to the U.S. A Custom’s Duty is a tariff or tax imposed on goods when transported across international borders.

Officers are also assessing mitigated penalties. These penalties are imposed when a passenger does not declare – or does not accurately declare – new items or merchandise coming into the U.S. This also includes penalties for zero-tolerance drug/narcotics seizures & penalties for low level currency seizures.

Since the beginning of this Fiscal Year, October 1, CBP has collected over $477,000 in duties and $698,431 in mitigated penalties from travelers arriving in Chicago.

“It is important for travelers to be truthful and claim the items they are bringing back,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Those that try to avoid paying a tax could be charged a penalty that is three to six times the taxable amount that would have been due.”

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“Failure to declare is covered by 19 USC 1497.  Violations can incur serious penalties,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago.  “I always encourage travelers to simply declare all of their items acquired overseas when returning to the U.S.  Otherwise, it can result in the seizure of the items(s) and significant penalties.”

Has CBP Chicago seized your property or given you a penalty for a failure to declare?

A failure to declare is serious, and can get seriously expensive. To get the best possible outcome, you will need to properly determine the duties owed (which involves classifying the products on the tariff schedule [HTSUS] properly) and also argue all the factors in your favor which warrant mitigation, and explain away any aggravating factors that are present that could lead you to a higher penalty.

If the person fails to pay the penalty, the government may bring a lawsuit against them in federal district court to recover the penalty in the form of a judgment, after which point the government can lien property, garnish bank accounts, and seize property.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely. You should contact us today to help you file a petition for mitigation, to get your seized merchandise back and to reduce the penalty for failure to declare to the lowest amount possible. If you’ve already paid duties and penalty, contact us for an evaluation of your case to see if we can get some of your money refunded.