CHICAGO– As more and more travelers start visiting overseas destinations or passengers from foreign countries visit Chicago, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are watchful for travelers arriving with gifts or other goods to share with family and friends because a tax may have to be paid before clearing customs.
CBP officers screen passengers that are referred to them because of information they indicated on their declaration. Officers in secondary screening are charged with enforcing duties travelers must pay for the items they bring back to the U.S. A Custom’s Duty is a tariff or tax imposed on goods when transported across international borders. The purpose of Customs Duty is to protect each country's economy, residents, jobs, environment, etc., by controlling the flow of goods, especially restrictive and prohibited goods, into and out of the country.
Officers are also assessing mitigated penalties. These penalties are imposed when a passenger does not declare – or does not accurately declare – new items or merchandise coming into the U.S. This also includes penalties for zero-tolerance drug/narcotics seizures & penalties for low level currency seizures.
Since the beginning of this Fiscal Year, October 1, CBP has collected over $477,000 in duties and $698,431 in mitigated penalties from travelers arriving in Chicago.
"It is important for travelers to be truthful and claim the items they are bringing back,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Those that try to avoid paying a tax could be charged a penalty that is three to six times the taxable amount that would have been due.”
Officers have also taxed a total of $22,266 of alcohol and tobacco products, another $180,765 in I-193 waiver fees for Immigration/visa violations, $11,300 in Agriculture Penalties for undeclared and prohibited food items, and $595 in miscellaneous fees.
“Failure to declare is covered by 19 USC 1497. Violations can incur serious penalties,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director-Chicago. “I always encourage travelers to simply declare all of their items acquired overseas when returning to the U.S. Otherwise, it can result in the seizure of the items(s) and significant penalties.”
The Custom’s Duty page has more information about this tax, what can be taxed, and what a traveler should know when bringing items into the U.S.
CBP’s border security mission is led at 328 ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.