NCBFAA Gets Some ISF Enforcement Answers
Going to bat for the membership, the NCBFAA, through its ISF Subcommittee, has gotten a number of answers directly from CBP to questions about the ISF enforcement taking effect July 9. Although answers to the few questions remaining open will be shared once the Subcommittee receives them from CBP, highlighted below are the answers received to date.
- Importer Security Filing enforcement begins on July 9, 2013. All ISFs filed on or after that day, must be complete, timely and accurate.
- For practical purposes, CBP will measure timeliness from 24 hours prior to the ship’s departure.
- CBP has no message about the timeliness of the ISF. The ISF filing and acceptance are in the ISF history when a filer transmits and receives the acceptance.
- An ISF is not an entry and does not liquidate. There is no closing of an ISF transaction. The statutory limitation for liquidated damages is six years.
- For ISFs using a single transaction bond, the liquidation of the entry does not close the ISF.
- An ISF that is timely filed, but does not immediately match the manifest is not in violation. The filer must correct the information on the ISF to match the carrier manifest before the arrival of the vessel to avoid liquidated damages. CBP will still send out non-match warnings as they do now.
- CBP has informally told the trade that they will take a measured approach and focus the highest priority on negligent importers that have not filed and on importers that had been filing and then stopped. However, all violations are subject to enforcement and CBP could issue penalties where they think it is necessary.
- All potential ISF liquidated damages cases will be sent to CBP Headquarters for review. This will be in effect for at least the first 12 months.
- CBP will most probably not issue a claim for shipments that are a little bit late or missed by an importer that has consistently been compliant. PAST PERFORMANCE will be a part of the review and a good record will count.
- CBP will not allow an entry if an ISF has not been filed. (Remember the term “ISF Jail”?).
- CBP will watch for abuse of the use of an ISF without a bond for commercial shipments.
- A deleted ISF is not a non-file. There may be legitimate reasons to delete an ISF and replace it.
- There could be multiple reasons for liquidated damages penalties on a particular ISF. However, CBP has set a cap of a maximum of $10,000.00 against any one ISF.
- There will be no comparison between the ISF and the entry. The ISF is for targeting. If there are differences between the manifest and the ISF or if there is an exam that shows that the ISF was incorrect, then the ISF could be subject to liquidated damages.
- CBP will not generally consider small generic discrepancies as a violation of accuracy, for example shirts vs. blouses.
- CBP will take systematic problems into consideration in reviewing the cases.
CBP has the expectation that importers must be 100 percent compliant. If not 100 percent compliant, importers could be exposed to liquidated damages cases.