What is an Importer Of Record?
Due to the large amounts of international cross-country trade, since 1993 the United States has required an Importer of Record (IOR) to be listed on all imports to the U.S. The role was created to ensure payment of duties and tariffs as well as the regulation of imports for security purposes. This entity is regarded as the person who is responsible for compliance with the applicable state and federal laws in the United States when importing goods. Failure to understand this concept and comply with the federal requirements could leave you in a sticky situation with the U.S. government. Here are some things to know when talking about an Importer of Record.
Responsibilities of the Importer Of Record
Under U.S. federal law, the Importer of Record is the entity who assumes responsibility for legally importing goods to the United States, paying duties, tariffs, and fees, and ensuring they are properly valued and documented. Keep in mind there is a difference between the entity who is listed to pay duties and tariffs and the entity who actually pays them. Depending on your situation, agreed-upon terms of payment between a shipper and buyer can be different than who is listed on official U.S. documentation.
Honesty and transparency on part of the Importer of Record is assumed, as they may be subject to enforced compliance which can involve inspections of imports, audits of documents, investigating the IOR’s other business deals, and investigating past or present criminal/civil penalties. All things considered, there exist government agencies whose authority can surpass that of the Importer of Record to deny a shipment to the United States for any reason (such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.)
The Importer of Record is responsible for all documentation in the initial assessments of an import. They are required to appoint a Power of Attorney (POA), so should the IOR not be on-site during an import, their POA has authority to act on behalf of the IOR. The Importer of Record has ownership of the imported goods at the time of importation. Once the goods are accepted by a distribution center, the ownership may be transferred. All things considered, the Importer of Record is the one who assumes temporary ownership of the goods as they are imported, and is responsible for reporting all necessary value assessments and documentation to U.S. Customs.
If you want to learn more about the importer of record, or need to assign a freight forwarder or POA to help with your imports, call our team at Interlog USA. We would be happy to help you with your projects!