Importer Gets $23 Million Penalty for Underpaying Duties
The Department of Justice announced Jan. 30 that a U.S.-based company that imports and sells goods from China will pay $22.9 million for misclassifying imports as duty-free and failing to pay back duties owed. According to a DOJ press release, the company admitted that between 2015 and 2019 it knowingly submitted or caused its customs brokers to submit thousands of entries misclassifying products imported from China under duty-free HTSUS provisions. This behavior persisted even though the company received repeated notices of action from U.S. Customs and Border Protection informing it that the classifications it had been using for similar goods were erroneous. It also continued for over nine months after a consultant confirmed the misclassification. The company also admitted that once it did adopt the correct classifications it made no effort to pay back the millions of dollars in duties it had avoided.