How do you check the health of your import program without liquidation notices?

The liquidation of a Customs entry is the final computation of duties and taxes due.  By law it happens three hundred and fourteen (314) days after  the date of entry.  It is the date on which the file “goes to the cabinet” and the date on which the clock begins if an importer wants to file a protest about an issue related to the entry.

Customs used to send notices of liquidation by mail.  These would indicate whether or not there was no change (nothing to worry about) or a suspension (which means something is up) or a rate advance (where they want more money).  Without this notice, importers have to rely on other means to make sure their entries are liquidating without incident.

Your broker can run a report.  The information on the liquidation status comes back as part of the information which is transmitted by Customs the same way that release information is transmitted.  When entries liquidate, those dates come into your broker’s system and they can run a “liquidation report.”

Your surety can run a report.  Understandably, the people who have your Customs bond and are responsible for paying additional duties are going to be paying attention to what their liabilities are, vis-a-vis your imports.  Some offer this through an online portal, others will report it upon demand.  The benefit to running the report with your surety is that if you have multiple brokers filing entries on your behalf, the report from the surety will show all the activity on your bond.  Brokers can’t see other brokers entries.

You can ask Customs.  This one’s the most difficult and we recommend that you only do it if you’re embarrassed to ask one of the other two.

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