Friday, January 18, 2013

What are Customs Bonds?

Only import shipments valued over $2,500 are required to obtain a customs bond. The bond is a guarantee to CPB to guarantee payment on any duty, fees and penalties levied by the Customs Service. In the case that an importer does not honor their obligation to Customs, a demand is made for payment to the bond company, then the bond company pursues the principal on the bond. With this statutory requirement on all imports, it eliminates the need for the Federal Government to ever collect money. The money is paid by the Surety that issued the bond, and Customs never has to enter the issues of bad debt collection.

There are two types of Import Custom Bonds that can be purchased from through your customs broker.

A Single Transaction Bond, as the name indicates is written to cover a single shipment. The bond premium is determined by adding the value plus the duty and fees, and the premium is paid on that amount. In the event of regulation by Other Regulatory Agencies (ORA), the bond amount is triple the value plus duty/fees. This type of bond is less secure for the Customs Service, so electronic entries, and electronic release are not authorized with this bond.

A Continuous Bond, is the second type, and is put in place before an importers importation and can be used for multiple import shipments, in all ports of the United States The bond is the property of the importer and can be used with multiple brokers. It allows for greater security for Customs, so electronic entry is allowed for importers possessing a Continuous Bond. An annual premium is paid for the Surety to insure this risk to the Customs Service. As this bond is based on annual; duty alone (Not the value of the goods), the minimum bond of $50,000.00 is sufficient for most new importers. If you import freight regularly, a continuous bond will be the best choice. Talk to Service Shipping Inc to determine which bond is best for you.

Other Customs bonds exist for special purposes. Freight can be transported within the U.S. for inland clearance by bonded transportation companies. These carrier bonds are convenient for importers, as it allows flexibility and inland movement for your cargo.

Want to store your goods before it has cleared? Defer the duty until cargo is needed? Bonded Warehouses have warehouse bonds to allow your goods to be in the USA, and not incur the duty obligation due.

Other special bonds, such as Importer Security Filing, Temporary Import and others are available for special situations, and again Service Shipping can guide you through the world of Customs Bonds.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What is a Customs Broker?

A Customs Broker is an individual or a corporation regulated and licensed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, also known as CBP. A broker serves as the legal representative for the importer to the Customs Service They provide services that guide importers guidance and expertise in all aspects of importing merchandise to the USA. Customs broker help importers determine tax liability, ensuring proper classification, valuation, and other assistance in import matters.

Import shipments entering into the commerce of the U.S. requires a customs clearance by CBP. In order for freight to clear customs, the importer of their representative will need to file an entry. Most entries are filed by a customs broker, as the fees are low, and worth their expertise in avoiding problems in the importation process. When the proper information and documentation is provided to the applicable government agency, CBP releases the cargo, and the freight can be delivered to its final destination.

There are all different types of laws that govern freight being shipped internationally. It is always wise, especially when importing, to consult a customs broker to ensure that all government regulations are met. Failure to meet government regulations could result in penalties and additional fees.

All imported freight coming into the U.S. is subject to inspection by CBP. Inspections can incur additional charges. Many variables go into what would cause imported freight to be inspected. A customs broker also acts on behalf of the importer in the event of an inspection. This can help minimize additional time and cost of the freight inspection. They can also address and resolve problems that CBP discovers in the importing process.

In addition to customs clearances, some customs brokers act as freight forwarders. This allows them to arrange for the transportation of goods. It can be more convenient and cost effective for shippers to use a customs broker that acts as a freight forwarder to arrange for door to door delivery of imports and exports.

A Customs brokers experience and expertise can save time and money in the importation of your goods. Consult a customs broker now by visiting