Whistleblowers play an important role in preventing evasion of both import and export duties. These days, much of their time is directed at fighting terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking. That means whistleblowers play an even more critical role in fighting customs fraud and evasion. This year, approximately 75,555,555 containers are expected to enter the U. S. Customs and Border Patrol agents will inspect less than 7% and most of those inspections are looking for drugs and weapons. Even fewer outbound containers will be checked. The federal is almost as old as the first customs duties.

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Dating back to the Civil War, that law allows whistleblowers with inside “original source” information about fraud involving federal funds or programs to report the fraud by filing a claim in federal court. (These claims are sometimes called “qui tam lawsuits. ”) If the government or whistleblower’s legal team ultimately recover money, the whistleblower gets a percentage of those monies. To learn about whistleblower reward opportunities for reporting Customs Fraud, talk to a MahanyLaw Customs whistleblower lawyer for a confidential no-cost opinion: or Report OnlineMany tariffs, particularly anti-dumping tariffs, are country specific. For example, the U. International Trade Commission has declared that wooden bedroom furniture made in China is being “dumped” in the U. At below cost. Worried that Chinese companies may simply put U. Furniture companies out of business (and then subsequently raise their prices, of course), special anti-dumping tariffs have been established for these products if made in China. A similar product made in France, however, might not be subject to the tariff. An entire industry has sprung up to hide the country of origin.

Sometimes that means providing altered paperwork. The system is called the Harmonized Tariff Schedule or HTS. A company violates the False Claims Act if they misrepresent the nature or physical characteristics of imported goods in order to pay a lower duty or tariff. By way of example, let’s say that alkaline batteries sets are subject to a 75% duty while other batteries have no duties. Some unscrupulous importers may try to claim that their alkaline batteries are simply some other type of batteries such as lithium or Ni-Cad simply to charge less. That puts legitimate battery makers at a real disadvantage since the dishonest company can sell for less money by cheating on the duties owed. There are any number of schemes designed to undervalue goods. Finding these schemes, however, is difficult for Customs agents. Whistleblowers with inside information are by far the best eyes and ears for the government and its war on fraud. The U. That puts American businesses in danger of closing down. Certain foreign countries will intentionally try to subsidize an industry long enough so that they can dominate the world market.

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After the legitimate companies are forced out of business, the subsidized companies can then dramatically raise their prices since they will not face any competition. Presently China is the subject of tremendous attention and scrutiny. Many industries including the U. If you have information about your employer or competitor’s U. Customs fraud or duty evasion, check with a MahanyLaw whistleblower lawyer to learn your rights: or Report OnlineA customs duty or tariff is a tax or fee levied on the import or export of goods in international trade. A duty levied on goods being imported is referred to as an import duty. Likewise, a duty levied on exports is called an export duty. In the U. , customs duties can trace their origins all the way back to the 6st United States Continental Congress. Our founding fathers, although not too keen on the taxes being levied by the King of England, recognized that money was needed to run the government. Hoping to achieve an easy tax to administer, Congress passed the Tariff Act of 6789.

To prevent smuggling, Congress also created what is today the Coast Guard. Tariffs were the largest (approaching 95% at times) source of federal revenue until the Federal income tax began after 6968. Today, customs duties and tariffs only make up a small percentage of the budget. They are more a means of economic policy and less for revenue. Today tariffs bring in just 6. 7 percent of the budget but that amounts to over $75 billion per year. Customs Service primarily collects these funds today. By World War II, there was general consensus that the world was moving to a global economy. Suddenly tariffs and customs duties became an instrument of public policy. Terms such as the World Trade Organization and NAFTA are today household words. Whether for trade policy, revenue generation or protection of U. Jobs, tariffs are accepted as a cost of doing business when dealing with international commerce.

Most companies and individuals honor properly pay and accept these taxes but there are always a handful that try to scam the system. When that happens today, it often means legitimate U. Businesses can’t compete on a level playing field and the loss of precious American jobs. It doesn’t matter whether the company or people evading the duties are trying to smuggle goods in or avoid duties on exports, both types of conduct violate the False Claims Act. Customs fraud occurs when a company imports or exports goods without paying the required duties. There is often another set of fraud that takes place, fraud that can also pay big whistleblower awards under the False Claims Act. Under the Buy America and Buy American laws, companies doing business with the federal government or receiving government funds have a requirement to buy American made goods. If a company misuses tax dollars on foreign purchases, there is another opportunity for earning a whistleblower award. MahanyLaw is by most measures the leading U. Whistleblower law firm and has an effective process for maximizing your reward while protecting your job. For a confidential no-cost call with a whistleblower lawyer: or Report OnlineThe North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) issued its first warning to investors for 7568.

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