International Customs Form filling mistakes

International Customs Form filling mistakes

In Import Export Business filling out international customs form is a hard task, but vital part of international shipping. All the border authorities take custom forms seriously. Every bit of a filled form is scanned and scrutinized carefully.

Many Exporters and Importers make mistakes while filling out the customs form. Those who are new to international shipping business, often commit such mistakes due to lack of understanding or human errors. When customs officials identify any mistake the shipments comes under more scrutiny. Errors on customs declaration forms can have severe consequences. The risk of shipping delay is one of them.

One must either learn to avoid making mistakes and fill out customs form neatly and perfectly.  There is a better option though. For example, EXIM Anything offers SMART inclusive services that include filling out of customs form or navigating a client to fill the form correctly.

Why is customs form so important?

A customs form must contain all the relevant information about the exporter/importer, declaration of value of the shipment, number, size and volume of the shipment. It must be declared that all the information filled in the form is according to the import and export laws of both the sending and receiving countries. Filling out the form incorrectly can invite fines according to the rules applicable in the country.

Why is it necessary to declare the value of the merchandise?

Every country has her own laws that include the laws applicable to levy of taxes and duties on items entering their borders. Declaration of value in a customs form allows the customs authorities assess the taxes and duties on the goods efficiently. Forms also serve security purposes, allowing border officials to ensure nothing dangerous or illegal enters their country.

Declaration of incorrect value.

Declaration of incorrect value of the merchandise on customs form is illegal and a serious issue. It means “a false declaration” by the vendor that is punishable by way of penalties, shipment hold up and other fines as stated in the law of the land. This will invite a higher fee of customs duty and penalties.

HS code error

Harmonized System (HS) is international code system applicable to all shipments. There are more than 5,000 HS codes in use. There is a possibility of human error while filling the correct code. Merchandise that cross borders must carry the proper Harmonized System (HS) code. These codes are regulated by the World Customs Organization and help border authorities determine if tariffs apply to imported goods. The US also uses HTS (harmonized Tariff Code. Any error in HS or HTS code will delay the merchandise. Any delay as a result of incorrect information filled in customs form means the shipment may need to be stored in a warehouse. Storage of merchandise costs money.

Incorrect address

Some errors are unforeseen and unintentional. There is a possibility of incorrect address of a recipient. This can cause delay in shipment of goods. It is important to check the address before dispatching the goods.  There are two addresses that must be filled. A. Sender, B. Recipient. Both addresses and phone numbers should be written correctly to avoid any confusion. An incorrect phone number can delay your shipment for a long time because the customs authorities will not be able to contact you in case of any eventuality.

AES information

Automated Export System (AES) is important part of Electronic Export Information (EEI).  The data written includes data such as quantity and units of measure for your goods. The best thing to avoid making such mistakes is to hire services of experienced agency like EXIM Anything.

Improper labeling of hazardous material

Goods like hazardous materials and food items require special labeling system.   Hazardous materials labelling must be filled out correctly. People who fill out labels for hazardous goods should be trained on how to do it because improper labeling leads to disastrous consequences. It is important to avail services of a company like EXIM Anything to do such jobs to avoid mistakes and delay or even confiscation of shipments.

Barcode system

Customs form must also contain the correct Bar Code. Bar Code is read by a bar code scanner. It contains relevant information which is important for logistics and customs purposes. Considering that the authorities and other service providers are busy with many shipments, bar code system makes sorting of goods easy and quick.

Import Export laws

Each country has her own rules and laws concerning imported goods, such as requiring an Automated Manifest System (AMS), origin certificates, or even fumigation of wood products. These laws must be followed correctly.

Duty free or low import cost goods

Some goods qualify for preferential tariff as a result of free trade agreement between the two countries for the purpose. Labeling goods wrongly with preferential tariff is an illegal act. This can be considered as a fraud and invite penalties as per the law.   


Syed M Faredie