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CBP Expanding Use of Audit Surveys; Jan. 15 Webinar Offers More Information

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Regulatory Audit recently announced plans to do more audit survey work with importers to more effectively utilize its resources. This concept has been around for years, focused primarily on intellectual property rights enforcement, but is now being rolled out to other review areas as well. While an audit survey may sound like a great opportunity for importers to avoid a more intensive review, it could in fact result in a full-blown audit or other enforcement actions if the importer does not take it seriously. 

Audit surveys are onsite risk assessments conducted by teams of CBP auditors and other identified CBP experts to more quickly obtain information about import activity relative to a specific trade area or issue without committing substantial time and resources. They typically involve a request for information in advance via a questionnaire, informed compliance presentations to inform importers of their responsibilities, and interviews and walkthroughs of selected entries to help CBP understand the importer’s processes. Survey results can be used to help CBP segment higher versus lower risk companies and plan whether subsequent action (e.g., the initiation of an audit or the opening of a formal investigation) is warranted. Results can also help importers by identifying weaknesses or areas requiring improvement.

Only a small number of audit teams are currently testing the survey approach, but CBP is expected to expand its use throughout the year. Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., will be conducting a webinar Jan. 15 to provide more information on audit surveys and their potential benefits and drawbacks for importers. Click here to register to attend.

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