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Fines, Penalty, and Forfeiture (FPF)

When Is A Penalty Assessed Against An Individual?
  When a violation of Customs laws or laws enforced by Customs is discovered, in addition to, or in lieu of, seizure and/or referral for criminal prosecution, Customs usually has the option of assessing a personal penalty against the alleged violator(s). In some cases, commercial violations are first reviewed by a multidiscipline Enforce Evaluation Team (EET) to determine whether a penalty should be issued or whether another action would be more appropriate under the circumstances.

Penalties include, but are not limited to:
  • penalties for aiding unlawful importation (19 U.S.C. 1595a(b));
  • drug related manifest penalties (19 U.S.C. 1584(a)(2));
  • counterfeit trademark penalties (19 U.S.C. 1526(f));
  • conveyance arrival, reporting, entry, and clearance violations (19 U.S.C. 1436);
  • coastwise trade (Jones Act) violations (46 U.S.C. App. 883)

What action may a violator take when he receives a notice of penalty from FPF office ?
  If the FPF Office assesses a penalty, generally, the alleged violator has sixty (60) days from the date of mailing the penalty notice to file a petition for relief. If the alleged violator provides no response (petition), CBP may refer the case for collection action.

  Upon the receipt of the alleged violator's petition for relief, Customs decides to grant or deny mitigation of penalties in accordance with established guidelines for the particular penalty statute involved. For instance, guidelines for section 1592 and section 1641 penalties are set forth as Appendices B and C, respectively, to Part 171 of the Customs Regulations

What is the maximum assessment of penalty against the alleged violator who is an importer ?
  The maximum assessment of penalty against an importer violator is the domestic value of the merchandise in the case of fraud violations.

What Is A Seizure And When May It Occur?
Property may be “seized” for certain violations of the Customs and related laws. In a seizure, a government official takes physical possession of the merchandise

When May Customs Proceed With A Forfeiture?
Generally, administrative forfeiture pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1607 is appropriate if the seized goods are:
  • of a forfeiture value of $500,000 or less;
  • a conveyance used to smuggle drugs;
  • prohibited merchandise; or
  • monetary instruments in any amount.

Where can latest CBP public notices of forfeiture be found ?
CBP public notices of forfeiture

What action may the party having an interest in the seized property take when he receives a notice of seizure/forfeiture ?
  Generally, most claimants of seized property elect to file a petition for administrative relief from the forfeiture within 30 days from the date of mailing the notice of seizure/forfeiture.

  Also, some choose to do nothing, in which case the government will begin forfeiture proceedings by publishing a notice in a newspaper on the date specified in the notice.

Your best choice
Working with CBPbrokers to cancel/mitigate your CBP Penalty claim.

The importer/exporter is solely responsible for his act of importation/exportation, and he is solely liable for the the duties, fees, and penalties upon his act of importation/exportation. The information provided on is to our best knowledge and experiences and it is not your definitive source for information. If you have any doubts or need additional clarifications, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other US government agencies are the definitive sources for your questions.