Do I Need a Broker to Clear Customs?

If you’re importing or exporting goods across international borders, there’s a high probability that your freight will need to clear customs. Fortunately, there is an industry of experienced cross-border providers who can help your company make this process easier.

Customs Brokers Are Essential to International Trade

The primary responsibility of a customs broker is to check a shipment against a list of import/export regulations to ensure that the goods are legal for transport. They also file and pay taxes, and help you settle any outstanding balances or penalties.

They also maintain relationships with government regulators and keep an eye out for new rules and trends that could impact the business. They can also help your business avoid fines and delays, because they know the regulations and have experience in the marketplace.

A Licensed Customs Broker Can Provide You With All the Documentation You Need to Clear Your Shipments

Many companies find that they need to hire a customs broker because of the complexity of international trade and the overwhelming amount of paperwork required. Often, businesses have to comply with numerous laws and tariffs that vary widely from country to country. This can be a confusing process, especially for companies that are just starting out in international shipping.

A customs broker helps clients understand all the documentation they need to clear their shipments and will be responsible for preparing and filing these documents. These can include detailed invoices with merchandise information, such as country of origin and weight; special forms for goods regulated by other federal agencies; and powers of attorney to act on their behalf.

Customs brokers also help clients get their shipments to the border on time and without any delays. This is especially important if your shipment is held up in customs or you face an audit investigation that could result in your freight being rejected, destroyed, or sent back to your supplier.

You can get started with a customs broker in as little as five business days, but it’s best to give your broker plenty of time to become familiar with your company and your shipping processes. This will minimize the risk of rushing through the process and creating delays at the border.

If you want to work with a qualified customs broker, it’s critical to find a company that has a modern, technology-driven customs declaration system managed in-house. This can simplify your customs clearance procedures, reduce the number of paper documents you need to send, and return valid customs permits electronically to you.

They also need to have a solid relationship with clients and be willing to work with you through any challenges you may encounter. You can also expect your broker to be an expert in the field of your industry, providing you with knowledge about trade agreements that can reduce your duties and taxes.

A good customs broker should be able to provide you with frequent training and seminars, so you’ll always know the latest import/export rules and regulations. They should also be able to provide valuable guidance through any audits your company might face.