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Imported Fee

What fees does CBP collect?

CBP collects duty on imported goods, merchandise processing fees, and user fees. Payments for fines and penalties associated with improper or illegal importing activity are also payable to CBP. CBP also collects various fees on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, excise taxes on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service, and other small fees are collected for other various Federal agencies. Most of the fees collected on behalf of other Federal agencies are deposited with U.S. Treasury for disposition. Treasury distributes these revenues to other Federal agencies in accordance with various laws and regulation.


What is the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States?

The United States International Trade Commission, Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements is responsible for publishing the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for administering the tariff and for processing import entries.

The HTS provides the applicable tariff rates and statistical categories for all merchandise imported into the United States.

It is based on the international Harmonized System, which is the global classification system that is used to describe most world commodities.


How do I use the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) to determine duty rates?

For a brief explanation of how duty rates are determined, please see the Informed Compliance publication entitled Tariff Classification.

If you are seriously considering importing something, and the decision to do so is dependent of that items' rate of duty, contact an Import Specialist at the port you will be importing through for help on obtaining a correct classification number and duty rate. You may find the telephone number on our Web site. Click on the state that you will be importing through to obtain the telephone number. Import Specialists cannot be contacted through email. You must call them directly for this information.

You may also find duty information in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule on the U.S. International Trade Commission HTS Web site. Scroll down to the section that your commodity falls under and click on the chapter that relates to your commodity. The link will first take you to the chapter notes, which offer technical guidance for determining the correct classification number for items in that chapter. After the notes, you will find the classification and duty rate tables where you can attempt to determine your items' classification number and associated duty rate.

Be aware that the HTS can be very complicated. If you self-classify an item and the classification is incorrect, the mistake can be costly. Therefore, it is advised that you speak directly with an Import Specialist if duty rate information is crucial to your decision to import something.


Are there any other taxes or fees required to import into the U.S., other than duty?

Yes, there are other taxes and fees that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) collects on goods being imported into the United States. CBP collects federal taxes and fees on behalf of other federal agencies and under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Whether or not additional tax is required depends on the commodity being imported. For example, imports of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are subject to Federal Excise Tax. The Internal Revenue Service establishes the amount of this tax and CBP collects it on their behalf. To find out if additional taxes and fees are required on the goods you import and the amount, you should contact an import specialist at the port of entry through which the goods will be entering the United States.

In addition to duty and possible excise tax, goods imported into the United States are subject to user fees. The user fee and amount collected by CBP depends on the type of entry and mode of transportation used to bring the goods into the United States. For instance, formal and informal entries are subject to a Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF). The MPF for formal entries is an ad valorem fee of 0.21 percent. The maximum amount of the fee shall not exceed $485 and shall not be less than $25. For example, .21 percent of $950,000.00 is $1,995.00, but the importer is only required to pay the maximum amount of $485.00. The fee is based on the value of the merchandise being imported, not including duty, freight, and insurance charges. MPF for informal entries (i.e. goods imported via mail etc.) is a set fee and ranges from $5.00 to $9.00 per shipment.(for MPF fee explanation and update rate, please see below)

If the mode of transportation is via ship a Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF) is collected by CBP. HMF is .125 percent of the value of the commercial cargo shipped through identified ports. HMF is not collected on cargo imported or transported via air or mailed. However, goods that are shipped are subject to both MPF and HMF.

To find out if the goods you import into the United States are subject to state or local taxes, you should contact your local or state treasury office. CBP does not collect taxes on behalf of the state.


What is a Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) and why do I have to pay it?

Formal and informal entries are subject to a Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF). 19 USC 1401 requires the importer of record to pay the fee to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the time of presenting the entry summary. Formal entries are required for imports of commercial goods valued at $2,000 or more, with the exception of certain commercial imports valued at $250.00 (i.e. textiles).

Effective October 1, 2011, the MPF for formal entries is an ad valorem fee of 0.3464 percent. The fee is based on the value of the merchandise being imported, not including duty, freight, and insurance charges. The maximum amount of the fee shall not exceed $485 and shall not be less than $25. For example, if .3464 percent of the amount of your merchandise is greater than the maximum amount of $485, the importer is only required to pay the maximum amount of $485.00.

For entries filed on or after October 1, 2011, until the CBP system changes take effect with the 0.3464% rate, CBP will bill the importer for the increase in MPF. CBP will disregard differences of less than $20. For more information visit MPF increase.

Informal entries generally, do not require a CBP bond and are usually for personal use imports or commercial imports valued less than $2,000 (only if the Port Director requests based on importation).

MPF for informal entries is assessed on goods that are transported to the U.S. via air, ship and international mail. MPF for informal entries is a set fee and ranges from $5.00 to $9.00 per shipment.

For more information visit CBP.gov.


What is the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)?

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories. GSP was instituted on January 1, 1976, by the Trade Act of 1974.

Congressional authorization of the GSP program expired on December 31, 2010. President Obama signed legislation to reauthorize the GSP program through July 31, 2013. GSP trade benefits went into effect 15 days after the President signed the bill (November 5, 2011) and will apply retroactively from January 1, 2011.

As in past circumstances when GSP was reauthorized with retroactive effect, importers of GSP-eligible products may seek reimbursement for tariffs paid during the lapse in GSP coverage. Importers who filed their entries electronically, used the appropriate special program indicator for GSP (e.g. “A” or “A+”), and paid duty on GSP-eligible goods, will receive an automatic refund. For entries made without using the special program indicator for GSP, refunds of duties deposited should be requested in writing from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP will issue further instructions regarding refund procedures when the GSP legislation has been signed into law. Those instructions are available at CBP’s website: CBP.gov.

Often GSP authority lapses before it is renewed, in which case duties on imports that are normally covered are held in escrow pending renewal. If any item's GSP status changes, thereby losing eligibility for duty-free treatment, the duties held in escrow will not be refunded to the importer.

For a list of countries and further information; please view the GSP Guidebook by clicking here.


What are Anti-dumping (AD) & Countervailing (CVD) duties?

Dumping occurs when foreign manufacturers sell goods in the United States less than fair value, causing injury to the U.S. industry. AD cases are company specific; their duties are calculated to bridge the gap back to a fair market value.

CVD cases are established when a foreign government provides assistance and subsidies, such as tax breaks to manufacturers that export goods to the U.S., enabling the manufacturers to sale the goods cheaper than domestic manufacturers. CVD cases are country specific, and the duties are calculated to duplicate the value of the subsidy.

When either of these occurs, petitions are filed by U.S. manufacturers or businesses with the International Trade Commission (ITC). If the ITC finds evidence of injury to the U.S. industry, the Department of Commerce (DOC) does an investigation. If the results are positive, CBP withholds liquidation of entries and collects AD/CVD duties. The entries are not liquidated until the DOC instructs CBP headquarters to do so.


What are the duties and tariffs on steel products?

Effective March 20, 2002, there was a 30% increase in tariffs on certain types of steel exported from countries such as Japan, South Korea, Germany, Brazil, China, Taiwan and France. To determine if this rate increase affects your steel imports from those countries, contact an Import Specialist at the port through which the steel will be imported.

To express concerns you have regarding the increase in steel tariffs, please contact the U.S. Trade Representative at (202) 456-1414.


Is there duty charged on imports of musical instruments (i.e., keyboard, piano, string, guitar, wind, percussion, drums, etc.)?

Duty rates for musical instruments vary depending on the country of origin. Duty rates for countries that have normal trade relation (NTR) status with the United States range from free to 6%.

Duty rates for goods coming from countries without NTR (North Korea, Laos and Cuba) can be as high as 40%.

Duty is assessed based on the price paid (converted to dollars) for the instrument. Duty rates for musical instruments can be obtained in Chapter 92 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Antique instruments over 100 years old are exempt from duty.

Please be aware that many older, collectable instruments have components whose entry is restricted or prohibited under endangered species treaties, such as pianos with ivory keys or wood instruments made with rare wood. Contact the Fish and Wildlife Service at (703) 358-2093 for more information about this issue.


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