Through the years, Customs has had a number of different policies for ensuring that principals maintain bonds in an adequate amount. Customs’ current requirement is that a continuous importer bond be set in an amount equal to 10% of the duty, taxes, and fees paid to Customs in the last 12 months – or $50,000 – whichever is greater. Customs’ current policy for ensuring principals maintain adequate bonds is simple – every month, Customs runs all of the entry data on every active importer bond, applies the above formula, and when a bond is found lacking, they issue a letter to the principal advising that, in 30 days, their bond will be rendered insufficient. If the principal wishes to continue to enjoy the benefits of a continuous bond, then they must terminate the current one and file a new bond in a new amount (which is specified in the letter).
While the process is straight forward, failure to adhere to Customs requirements can have a devastating effect on the principal’s business operations. Once rendered insufficient, the bond cannot be used and therefore if the principal wishes to enter goods into the United States, single transaction bonds must be issued (increasing the cost and time frame for goods to be entered).
Fortunately, C.A. Shea has developed a program that advises when an importer bond has reached 90% saturation. This program is run monthly and brokers are notified if their bonds have reached this level. This gives brokers and importers the opportunity to review their importing activity to determine if a higher bond amount is appropriate.