19 CFR § 162.74 - Prior disclosure.
(a)In general - (1) A prior disclosure is made if the person concerned discloses the circumstances of a violation (as defined in paragraph (b) of this section) of 19 U.S.C. 1592 or 19 U.S.C. 1593a, either orally or in writing to a Customs officer before, or without knowledge of, the commencement of a formal investigation of that violation, and makes a tender of any actual loss of duties, taxes and fees or actual loss of revenue in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. A Customs officer who receives such a tender in connection with a prior disclosure shall ensure that the tender is deposited with the concerned local Customs entry officer.
(2) A person shall be accorded the full benefits of prior disclosure treatment if that person provides information orally or in writing to Customs with respect to a violation of 19 U.S.C. 1592 or 19 U.S.C. 1593a if the concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer is satisfied the information was provided before, or without knowledge of, the commencement of a formal investigation, and the information provided includes substantially the information specified in paragraph (b) of this section. In the case of an oral disclosure, the disclosing party shall confirm the oral disclosure by providing a written record of the information conveyed to Customs in the oral disclosure to the concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer within 10 days of the date of the oral disclosure. The concerned Fines, Penalties and Forfeiture Officer may, upon request of the disclosing party which establishes a showing of good cause, waive the oral disclosure written confirmation requirement. Failure to provide the written confirmation of the oral disclosure or obtain a waiver of the requirement may result in denial of the oral prior disclosure.
(b)Disclosure of the circumstances of a violation. The term “discloses the circumstances of a violation” means the act of providing to Customs a statement orally or in writing that:
(1) Identifies the class or kind of merchandise involved in the violation;
(2) Identifies the importation or drawback claim included in the disclosure by entry number, drawback claim number, or by indicating each concerned Customs port of entry and the approximate dates of entry or dates of drawback claims;
(3) Specifies the material false statements, omissions or acts including an explanation as to how and when they occurred; and
(4) Sets forth, to the best of the disclosing party's knowledge, the true and accurate information or data that should have been provided in the entry or drawback claim documents, and states that the disclosing party will provide any information or data unknown at the time of disclosure within 30 days of the initial disclosure date. Extensions of the 30-day period may be requested by the disclosing party from the concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer to enable the party to obtain the information or data.
(c)Tender of actual loss of duties, taxes and fees or actual loss of revenue. A person who discloses the circumstances of the violation shall tender any actual loss of duties, taxes and fees or actual loss of revenue. The disclosing party may choose to make the tender either at the time of the claimed prior disclosure, or within 30 days after CBP notifies the person in writing of CBP calculation of the actual loss of duties, taxes and fees or actual loss of revenue. The Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer may extend the 30-day period if there is good cause to do so. The disclosing party may request that the basis for determining CBP asserted actual loss of duties, taxes or fees be reviewed by Headquarters, provided that the actual loss of duties, taxes or fees determined by CBP exceeds $100,000 and is deposited with CBP, more than 1 year remains under the statute of limitations involving the shipments covered by the claimed disclosure, and the disclosing party has complied with all other prior disclosure regulatory provisions. A grant of review is within the discretion of CBP Headquarters in consultation with the appropriate field office, and such Headquarters review shall be limited to determining issues of correct tariff classification, correct rate of duty, elements of dutiable value, and correct application of any special rules (GSP, CBI, HTS 9802, etc.). The concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer shall forward appropriate review requests to the Chief, Penalties Branch, Office of International Trade. After Headquarters renders its decision, the concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer will be notified and the concerned Center director will recalculate the loss, if necessary, and notify the disclosing party of any actual loss of duties, taxes or fees increases. Any increases must be deposited within 30 days, unless the local CBP office authorizes a longer period. Any reductions of the CBP calculated actual loss of duties, or and fees shall be refunded to the disclosing party. Such Headquarters review decisions are final and not subject to appeal. Further, disclosing parties requesting and obtaining such a review waive their right to contest either administratively or judicially the actual loss of duties, taxes and fees or actual loss of revenue finally calculated by CBP under this procedure. Failure to tender the actual loss of duties, taxes and fees or actual loss of revenue finally calculated by CBP shall result in denial of the prior disclosure.
(d)Effective time and date of prior disclosure - (1) If the documents that provide the disclosing information are sent by registered or certified mail, return-receipt requested, and are received by Customs, the disclosure shall be deemed to have been made at the time of mailing.
(2) If the documents are sent by other methods, including in-person delivery, the disclosure shall be deemed to have been made at the time of receipt by Customs. If the documents are delivered in person, the person delivering the documents will, upon request, be furnished a receipt from Customs stating the time and date of receipt.
(3) The provision of information that is not in writing but that qualifies for prior disclosure treatment pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of this section shall be deemed to have occurred at the time that Customs was provided with information that substantially complies with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.
(e)Addressing and filing prior disclosure - (1) A written prior disclosure should be addressed to the Commissioner of Customs, have conspicuously printed on the face of the envelope the words “prior disclosure,” and be presented to a Customs officer at the Customs port of entry of the disclosed violation.
(2) In the case of a prior disclosure involving violations at multiple ports of entry, the disclosing party may orally disclose or provide copies of the disclosure to all concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officers. In accordance with internal Customs procedures, the officers will then seek consolidation of the disposition and handling of the disclosure. In the event that the claimed “multi-port” disclosure is made to a Customs officer other than the concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer, the disclosing party must identify all ports involved to enable the concerned Customs officer to refer the disclosure to the concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer for consolidation of the proceedings.
(f)Verification of disclosure. Upon receipt of a prior disclosure, the Customs officer shall notify Customs Office of Investigations of the disclosure. In the event the claimed prior disclosure is made to a Customs officer other than the concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer, it is incumbent upon the Customs officer to provide a copy of the disclosure to the concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer. The disclosing party may request, in the oral or written prior disclosure, that the concerned Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Officer request that the Office of Investigations withhold the initiation of disclosure verification proceedings until after the party has provided the information or data within the time limits specified in paragraph (b)(4) of this section. It is within the discretion of the concerned Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Officer to grant or deny such requests.
(g)Commencement of a formal investigation. A formal investigation of a violation is considered to be commenced with regard to the disclosing party on the date recorded in writing by the Customs Service as the date on which facts and circumstances were discovered or information was received that caused the Customs Service to believe that a possibility of a violation existed. In the event that a party affirmatively asserts a prior disclosure (i.e., identified or labeled as a prior disclosure) and is denied prior disclosure treatment on the basis that Customs had commenced a formal investigation of the disclosed violation, and Customs initiates a penalty action against the disclosing party involving the disclosed violation, a copy of a “writing” evidencing the commencement of a formal investigation of the disclosed violation shall be attached to any required prepenalty notice issued to the disclosing party pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1592 or 19 U.S.C. 1593a.
(h)Scope of the disclosure and expansion of a formal investigation. A formal investigation is deemed to have commenced as to additional violations not included or specified by the disclosing party in the party's original prior disclosure on the date recorded in writing by the Customs Service as the date on which facts and circumstances were discovered or information was received that caused the Customs Service to believe that a possibility of such additional violations existed. Additional violations not disclosed or covered within the scope of the party's prior disclosure that are discovered by Customs as a result of an investigation and/or verification of the prior disclosure shall not be entitled to treatment under the prior disclosure provisions.
(i)Knowledge of the commencement of a formal investigation - (1) A disclosing party who claims lack of knowledge of the commencement of a formal investigation has the burden to prove that lack of knowledge. A person shall be presumed to have had knowledge of the commencement of a formal investigation of a violation if before the claimed prior disclosure of the violation a formal investigation has been commenced and:
(i)Customs, having reasonable cause to believe that there has been a violation of 19 U.S.C. 1592 or 19 U.S.C. 1593a, so informed the person of the type of or circumstances of the disclosed violation; or
(ii) A Customs Special Agent, having properly identified himself or herself and the nature of his or her inquiry, had, either orally or in writing, made an inquiry of the person concerning the type of or circumstances of the disclosed violation; or
(iii) A Customs Special Agent, having properly identified himself or herself and the nature of his or her inquiry, requested specific books and/or records of the person relating to the disclosed violation; or
(v) The merchandise that is the subject of the disclosure was seized; or
(vi) In the case of violations involving merchandise accompanying persons entering the United States or commercial merchandise inspected in connection with entry, the person has received oral or written notification of Customs finding of a violation.
(2) The presumption of knowledge may be rebutted by evidence that, notwithstanding the foregoing notice, inquiry or request, the person did not have knowledge that an investigation had commenced with respect to the disclosed information.
(j)Prior disclosure using sampling.
(1) A private party may use statistical sampling to “disclose the circumstances of a violation” and for calculation of lost duties, taxes, and fees or lost revenue for purposes of prior disclosure, provided that the statistical sampling satisfies the criteria in 19 CFR 163.11(c)(3). The prior disclosure must include an explanation of the sampling plan and methodology that meets with CBP's approval. The time period, scope, and any sampling plan employed by the private party, as well as the execution and results of the self-review, are subject to CBP review and approval. In accordance with 19 CFR 163.11(c)(1), in circumstances where the private party and CBP have discussed and accepted the sampling plan and its methodology, or adjustments to it, the private party submitting a prior disclosure employing sampling under this paragraph may not contest the validity of the sampling plan or its methodology, and challenges of the sampling itself will be limited to computational and clerical errors after CBP conducts its review and makes a determination. This is not a waiver of the private party's right to later contest substantive issues it may properly raise under applicable regulations, as provided in 19 CFR 163.11(c)(1).
(2) If a private party submits a prior disclosure claim employing sampling, CBP may review other transactions from the same time period and scope that are the subject of the prior disclosure.