Revenue Modernization Initiative Aims to Speed Cargo, Travelers
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has launched a multi-year, phased initiative to modernize the way it collects duties, taxes, and fees. CBP states that while it collects the majority of its $45 billion in annual revenue electronically, 5.6 percent is collected through cash and checks, more than 60 percent of which is collected at ports of entry. This creates inefficiencies at the ports that delay cargo and traveler movement and keep CBP officers from focusing on critical security and compliance activities.
CBP’s Revenue Modernization initiative aims to address this issue by simplifying the collections process and transitioning it out of the ports of entry. This initiative will also provide modern electronic billing and payment options and encourage the use of tools such as smartphones, automated clearinghouse, debit/credit, electronic funds transfer, pay.gov, PayPal, foreign exchange transfers, and port kiosks. Another goal is to improve documentation, training, and procedures so that customers’ experiences are consistent across CBP.
CBP believes the benefits of this initiative will include lowering transaction costs and administrative burdens for importers and filers; limiting the need for brokers to manually pay duties, taxes, and fees at ports or customs houses; and improving the ability to provide filers with an accurate, consolidated view of their financial transactions. CBP itself expects to gain access to real time, reliable financial and operational data that will better inform decision-making and aid compliance with existing and emerging reporting requirements.
The first Rev Mod pilot program, testing the use of smart safes, was launched in June 2016. Plans are also in the works for an online payment options pilot and a self-service kiosk experiment. Last fall CBP began the transition of select collections out of the field and the deployment of new technologies to ensure the efficient processing of the remaining revenue collection activities.
In the meantime CBP is working with the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee’s Trade Modernization Committee to identify and collect from the trade and travel communities information on how to further improve its revenue collection processes and systems. Among other things, CBP and COAC are examining existing gaps and challenges, best practices in foreign countries, stakeholder preferences and feasible alternatives, and any legislative changes that might be needed. Public input on these and related issues is welcomed; please contact Lenny Feldman at (305) 894-1011 for more information.