CBP Audits: Informed Compliance Notification Letters

Posted on Aug 18

CBP’s Regulatory Audit office has rolled out a new approach to auditing importers for non-compliance. Previously, Regulatory Audit would use a quick audit methodology or audit survey by phone or email to check specific transactions for compliance. The Focused Assessment, while historically rare, could last months or possibly years. While the old approach is not going away, Regulatory Audit is now employing the issuance of formal notification letters referring the importer to the Informed Compliance Publications. Receipt of this formal letter is a signal from Regulatory Audit that the importer is being strongly considered for a comprehensive audit.
The formal notification letter should be taken very seriously as a notice to the importer to conduct a self-review and consider a prior disclosure because Regulatory Audit believes there are specific problems with the company’s transactions. The letter goes on to say “violations that may occur in the future could result in seizures and forfeitures of imported merchandise and/or the assessment of monetary penalties.” (See sample letter)
Importers are encouraged to review and implement measures to ensure they are “audit ready” through risk assessment and self-review. It is recommended that importers share this information with their compliance teams so everyone is aware of Regulatory Audit’s new approach and take immediate appropriate action to rectify any non-compliance. Prior disclosure and tendering any loss of revenue may help the importer receive reduced penalties.