19 CFR 123.9 - Explanation of a discrepancy in a manifest.

§ 123.9 Explanation of a discrepancy in a manifest.
(a) Provisions applicable—
(1) Overages. If any merchandise (including sea stores or its equivalent) is found on board a vessel or vehicle arriving in the U.S. that is not listed on a manifest filed in accordance with § 123.5 of this part, or after having been unladen from such vessel or vehicle, is found not to have been included or described in the manifest or does not agree therewith (an overage), the master, person in charge, or owner of the vessel or vehicle or any person directly or indirectly responsible for the discrepancy is subject to such penalties as are prescribed in section 584, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1584), and any such merchandise belonging or consigned to the master, person in charge, or owner of the vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture.
(2) Shortages. If merchandise is manifested but not found on board a vessel or vehicle arriving in the U.S. (a shortage), the master, person in charge, or owner of the vessel or vehicle or any person directly or indirectly responsible for the discrepancy is subject to such penalties as are prescribed in section 584, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1584).
(3) Failure to file a manifest. The master or person in charge of a vessel or vehicle arriving in the U.S. or the U.S. Virgin Islands who fails to present a manifest to Customs is liable for civil penalties as are provided by law, and the conveyance used in connection with the failure to file is subject to seizure and forfeiture. A criminal conviction for intentional failure to file shall make the master or person in charge liable for criminal penalties, as provided by statute, and if any merchandise is found or determined to have been on board (other than sea stores or the equivalent for vehicles), the importation of which is prohibited, additional penalties may apply.
(b) Report of discrepancies—
(1) Discrepancies discovered by master, person in charge, owner, agent, or person directly or indirectly responsible. The master, person in charge, owner, or agent of the vessel or vehicle, or any person directly or indirectly responsible for any discrepancy between the merchandise and the manifest, shall report any discrepancy to the port director within 60 days after the date of arrival by completing a report for an overage or a declaration for a shortage. The overage report or shortage declaration may be made on the appropriate manifest form, as listed in § 123.4, or on Customs Form 5931, Discrepancy Report and Declaration. If no manifest has been filed, an original copy of the appropriate form, as listed in § 123.4, should be used. In each case in which a manifest form is used, the form shall be marked or stamped “Overage Report” or “Shortage Declaration”, as appropriate. The form used shall list the merchandise involved and state the reasons for the discrepancy.
(2) Discrepancies discovered by Customs. The port director immediately shall advise the master, person in charge, owner, agent, or any person directly or indirectly responsible for the discrepancy between the merchandise and the manifest of any discrepancy discovered by Customs officers which has not been reported. The person so notified shall file an explanation of the discrepancy, as required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, within 30 days of notification, or within 60 days after arrival of the vessel or vehicle, whichever is later. The port director may notify the master, person in charge, owner, agent, or any person directly or indirectly responsible for the discrepancy by furnishing a copy of Customs Form 5931 to that person, or by any other appropriate written means. Use of Customs Form 5931 shall not preclude assessment of any penalty or liability to forfeiture otherwise incurred.
(c) Statement on report of discrepancy required. The overage report or shortage declaration shall bear the following statement signed by the master of the vessel, the person in charge of the vehicle, the owner of the vessel or vehicle, an authorized agent, or the person directly or indirectly responsible for the discrepancy:
I declare to the best of my knowledge and belief that the discrepancy described herein occurred for the reasons stated. I also certify that evidence to support a claim of nonimportation or proper disposition of merchandise will be retained in the carrier's files for a period of at least one year from the date of this report of discrepancy and will be made available to Customs upon demand.
(d) Action on the discrepancy report.
(1) In accordance with the proviso to 19 U.S.C. 1584, no penalty shall be incurred under that section if—
(i) The manifest discrepancy relates only to a shortage;
(ii) There is timely filing of the discrepancy report;
(iii) There has been no loss of revenue;
(iv) The port director is satisfied that the discrepancy resulted from clerical error or other mistake; and
(v) In the case of a discrepancy not reported initially by the master, person in charge, owner, agent, or the person directly or indirectly responsible, the port director is satisfied that there is a valid reason for failure to file the discrepancy report.
(2) If the criteria in paragraph (d)(1) of this section are not met, applicable penalties under 19 U.S.C. 1584 shall be assessed.
(3) Any penalty or liability to forfeiture incurred under 19 U.S.C. 1584 may be mitigated or remitted under section 618, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1618).
(e) Penalty assessment. For the purpose of assessing penalties under 19 U.S.C. 1584, the value of the merchandise shall be determined as described in section 162.43 of this chapter.
(f) Lack of knowledge does not relieve liability. The fact that the master of the vessel, the person in charge of the vehicle, or the owner of the vessel or vehicle had no knowledge of a discrepancy shall not relieve the master, the person in charge, or the owner from a penalty, or the vessel or vehicle from liability to forfeiture, incurred under 19 U.S.C. 1584.
(g) Clerical error or other mistake defined. For the purpose of this section, the term “clerical error or other mistake” is defined as a non-negligent, inadvertent, or typographical mistake in the preparation, assembly, or submission of manifests. However, repeated similar manifest discrepancies by the same persons may be considered the result of negligence and not clerical error or other mistake.
[T.D. 80-236, 45 FR 64172, Sept. 29, 1980, as amended by T.D. 93-96, 58 FR 67318, Dec. 21, 1993]

Title 19 published on 2014-04-01

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