CBP Proposes Changing Sampling Methods and Payments

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


CBP Proposes Rule Changes to Sampling Methods and Offsetting of Payments in Audits and Prior Disclosure Cases


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is proposing to amend regulations to provide further guidance for the use of statistical sampling methods in CBP audits and prior disclosure cases, and to utilize off-setting of overpayments of duties and fees against lost revenue or monetary penalties under prescribed circumstances.  Because CBP regulations do not explicitly provide for the use of statistical sampling, CBP proposes to amend the regulations to define circumstances and requirements for the use of statistical sampling by CBP, and where appropriate, audited persons authorized to conduct self-auditing or private parties conducting an independent review for prior disclosures purposes.   

Statistical sampling is a practice recognized by both government and industry as the most practical and expeditious way to accurately assess a voluminous number of transactions.  CBP has sole discretion concerning whether to employ statistical sampling.  They reserve the right to conduct a full entry-by-entry audit if deemed appropriate. 

Offsetting of a claim by CBP for lost revenue or monetary penalties against an over-payment of duties and fees was precluded by the “finality of liquidation rule”.  Once an entry that had been overpaid had liquidated, CBP was bound by the liquidation and could not offset an overpayment against an underpayment or monetary penalty assessment.  CBP is proposing to amend its regulations to conform to changes made by the Trade Act of 2002, Section 382 which amended 19 USC 1509(b) to allow offsetting that falls within the time period and scope of the audit as defined by CBP.

Interested parties are invited to submit written data, views or arguments to CBP on all aspects of this proposed rule. Comments must be received on or before December 21, 2009.  Comments must be identified by docket number, USCBP-2009-0029, and may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail. 

The proposed amendment was published in the Federal Register, October 21, 2009, and may be viewed in its entirety at