19 U.S.C. § 1641 - Customs brokers

Cite as:19 U.S.C. § 1641
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-158 (08/14/2020)
 
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(a) Definitions

As used in this section:

(1) The term "customs broker" means any person granted a customs broker's license by the Secretary under subsection (b).

(2) The term "customs business" means those activities involving transactions with U.S. Customs and Border Protection concerning the entry and admissibility of merchandise, its classification and valuation, the payment of duties, taxes, or other charges assessed or collected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon merchandise by reason of its importation, or the refund, rebate, or drawback thereof. It also includes the preparation of documents or forms in any format and the electronic transmission of documents, invoices, bills, or parts thereof, intended to be filed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in furtherance of such activities, whether or not signed or filed by the preparer, or activities relating to such preparation, but does not include the mere electronic transmission of data received for transmission to Customs.

(3) The term "Secretary" means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(b) Customs broker's licenses

(1) In general

No person may conduct customs business (other than solely on behalf of that person) unless that person holds a valid customs broker's license issued by the Secretary under paragraph (2) or (3).

(2) Licenses for individuals

The Secretary may grant an individual a customs broker's license only if that individual is a citizen of the United States. Before granting the license, the Secretary may require an applicant to show any facts deemed necessary to establish that the applicant is of good moral character and qualified to render valuable service to others in the conduct of customs business. In assessing the qualifications of an applicant, the Secretary may conduct an examination to determine the applicant's knowledge of customs and related laws, regulations and procedures, bookkeeping, accounting, and all other appropriate matters.

(3) Licenses for corporations, etc.

The Secretary may grant a customs broker's license to any corporation, association, or partnership that is organized or existing under the laws of any of the several States of the United States if at least one officer of the corporation or association, or one member of the partnership, holds a valid customs broker's license granted under paragraph (2).

(4) Duties

A customs broker shall exercise responsible supervision and control over the customs business that it conducts.

(5) Lapse of license

The failure of a customs broker that is licensed as a corporation, association, or partnership under paragraph (3) to have, for any continuous period of 120 days, at least one officer of the corporation or association, or at least one member of the partnership, validly licensed under paragraph (2) shall, in addition to causing the broker to be subject to any other sanction under this section (including paragraph (6)), result in the revocation by operation of law of its license.

(6) Prohibited acts

Any person who intentionally transacts customs business, other than solely on the behalf of that person, without holding a valid customs broker's license granted to that person under this subsection shall be liable to the United States for a monetary penalty not to exceed $10,000 for each such transaction as well as for each violation of any other provision of this section. This penalty shall be assessed in the same manner and under the same procedures as the monetary penalties provided for in subsection (d)(2)(A).

(c) Customs broker's permits

(1) In general

Each person granted a customs broker's license under subsection (b) shall be issued, in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary shall prescribe, either or both of the following:

(A) A national permit for the conduct of such customs business as the Secretary prescribes by regulation.

(B) A permit for each customs district in which that person conducts customs business and, except as provided in paragraph (2), regularly employs at least 1 individual who is licensed under subsection (b)(2) to exercise responsible supervision and control over the customs business conducted by that person in that district.

(2) Exception

If a person granted a customs broker's license under subsection (b) can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary that-

(A) he regularly employs in the region in which that district is located at least one individual who is licensed under subsection (b)(2), and

(B) that sufficient procedures exist within the company for the person employed in that region to exercise responsible supervision and control over the customs business conducted by that person in that district,

the Secretary may waive the requirement in paragraph (1)(B).

(3) Lapse of permit

The failure of a customs broker granted a permit under paragraph (1) to employ, for any continuous period of 180 days, at least one individual who is licensed under subsection (b)(2) within the district or region (if paragraph (2) applies) for which a permit was issued shall, in addition to causing the broker to be subject to any other sanction under this section (including any in subsection (d)), result in the revocation by operation of law of the permit.

(4) Appointment of subagents

Notwithstanding subsection (c)(1), upon the implementation by the Secretary under section 1413(b)(2) of this title of the component of the National Customs Automation Program referred to in section 1411(a)(2)(B) of this title, a licensed broker may appoint another licensed broker holding a permit in a customs district to act on its behalf as its subagent in that district if such activity relates to the filing of information that is permitted by law or regulation to be filed electronically. A licensed broker appointing a subagent pursuant to this paragraph shall remain liable for any and all obligations arising under bond and any and all duties, taxes, and fees, as well as any other liabilities imposed by law, and shall be precluded from delegating to a subagent such liability.

(d) Disciplinary proceedings

(1) General rule

The Secretary may impose a monetary penalty in all cases with the exception of the infractions described in clause (iii) of subparagraph (B) of this subsection, or revoke or suspend a license or permit of any customs broker, if it is shown that the broker-

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