As the saying goes, time flies! Soon it will be time to put on our party hats and usher in the New Year 2012. After all those new year resolutions have been made and the New Year’s Eve festivities have come to an end, it will be time to focus on the year ahead. In the trade industry, Customs brokers should keep in mind that 2012 marks the Customs Broker Triennial. What is the triennial and how does it affect licensed Customs brokers?
The rules and regulations pertaining to the licensing of Customs brokers are found in Title 19, Part 111 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Included in those rules is 19 C.F.R. 111.30(d), which requires that all licensed Customs brokers file a status report with and pay a fee to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) every three years. The last time CBP collected the status report and fee was in 2009.
The Who, What, When, Where, and, of course, How Much.
All Customs brokers holding a valid license must file this report and pay the required fee. This means that any individual, corporation, limited liability partnership, or association that is licensed as a Customs broker and whose license has not been revoked, suspended, or canceled, must file the report and pay the fee to CBP. If an individual is licensed as a broker and also forms part of an entity that is likewise licensed, then both the individual and the entity must file the report and pay the fee.
While CBP does not require a particular format for the report, it does provide a sample status report that Customs brokers can follow. The elements required in all status reports are found in 19. C.F.R. § 111.30(d). Remember that the name stated on the status report should match that which appears on the broker’s license. If the broker has legally changed his/her name and has not obtained a new license listing the new legal name, then the broker must provide the port director with proof of the right to use the new legal name and also request that a new license be issued. Also, Customs brokers should keep in mind that 19. C.F.R. § 111.30(d) also requires that brokers file a list of current employees – when applicable – as prescribed by 19 C.F.R. § 111.28(b).
The regulations require that all individuals and entities must state in the report whether they are “actively engaged in transacting business as a broker.” CBP has explained this to mean that individuals who currently or have recently transacted customs business on behalf of others as a sole proprietor or while employed by a licensed Customs broker who has done so, are actively engaged in customs business. Those working for another broker and not directly involved in any customs business activities may state that they are not so engaged. Entities that currently or have recently transacted customs business must also state this in the report.
The deadline to submit the report and fee is February 29, 2012. But, CBP will begin accepting reports and fees on January 2, 2012.
Pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 111.30(d)(1), licensed brokers should file the report and pay the fee to the director of the port who originally granted the license. To ensure compliance with the regulations, Customs brokers should make sure they do not submit documents to the wrong port or at CBP Headquarters!
A fee in the amount of $100 must also be submitted in the form of a check or money order made payable to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Each status report must be accompanied by the required fee.
If CBP fails to receive the documentation and fee, your broker’s license will be suspended by operation of law on March 1, 2012 and a notice of suspension will be sent to the broker’s last known address. However, a Customs broker who fails to file will be allowed to file the report and pay the fee within sixty days of the date of the suspension notice and his or her license will be reinstated. If the broker fails to file following this sixty-day period, the license will be revoked and the broker must re-apply for a license.
Customs brokers, don’t forget to file your status report and pay the requisite fee by February 29, 2012!