FAPs and Quick Response Audits

A Focused Assessment (FA) is an audit conducted by CBP according to specific published guidelines. A Quick Response Audit is a limited audit of a specific issue by CBP conducted on a case-by-case basis. 

Generally, CBP begins the FA by asking the importer to complete an internal control questionnaire regarding the company’s compliance program and importing activity. Once the importer responds to the internal control questionnaire, CBP will move to the Pre-Assessment Survey (PAS) which involves on interviews with company officials and customs compliance personnel, a review of company’s compliance procedures, and limited testing of sample customs entries. Based on CBP’s findings in the PAS, a company may be subjected to further extensive transactional testing in the Assessment Compliance Testing (ACT) phase of the Focused Assessment. To conclude the FA, CBP will present its findings to the company for their comments. 

If CBP deems an importer’s compliance program to be lacking and/or uncovers noncompliance with Customs laws or regulations, CBP will require the payment of any revenue owed to CBP and may require that the company develop Compliance Improvement Plans (CIP) where it deems necessary. After submission of the improvement plan, CBP will revisit the importer to test the effectiveness of the CIP. CBP may also delay an importer’s shipments through intensive cargo exams on a more frequent, ongoing basis.

Moreover, if CBP determines that the importer was  acting with negligence, grossly negligence, or fraud with respect to any violations found, CBP could investigate the matter further and assess civil or criminal penalties against an importer.

Global Trade Expertise can assist importers in preparing for a FA by conducting an internal assessment of the company’s customs compliance policies and procedures. By interviewing key company personnel who have an effect on the company’s customs compliance, GTE can quickly assess a company’s overall customs compliance. 

Based on the findings of our initial assessment, GTE  will select a sample of the company’s customs entries to assess the company’s compliance on a transaction basis. Finally, GTE will identify any potential areas of liability and advise the company as to whether a prior disclosure of the violations to CBP (protecting the company from excessive penalties) is warranted. If a company chooses to file a prior disclosure with CBP, GTE can assist with drafting a prior disclosure to meet all of CBP’s requirements.

Finally, GTE can represent a company during a Focused Assessment and assist the company in managing the FA and its interactions with CBP so that the FA is as unobtrusive as possible to the company’s day to day business.