By Valentina Rodriguez
A Guide on How to Correct, Fix, and/or Modify United States Customs and Border Protection Entry Summaries for Alcohol Importation.
You are reviewing all of your United States Customs and Border Protection Entry Summaries of alcohol importation for the year. You quickly flip through the pages. Entry Summary, invoices, bill of lading. Pause. You flip back. Your breath catches. A mistake. Wrongful entry of gallons. The Proof Liters (PFL) was calculated incorrectly. The calculations were off because a decimal was placed in the tenth place instead of the hundredth place. What do you do?
Mistakes are nothing new to individuals in the business of importing spirits, wine, beer, and other alcoholic products. The employee calculating the gallons forgot to count the box in the corner that held another 30 gallons. The broker forgot the new excise tax and calculated the amount owed to the federal government incorrectly.
Mistakes happen. What is important is what comes after. What steps can be taken to remedy these mistakes? How can you make sure that your inventory is not negatively impacted? How can you make sure that you or your company’s relationship with Customs and Border Protection remains amicable?
This blog post is intended to provide insight into these solutions for importers, Entry Summary filers, brokers, and even attorneys who are helping their clients through the process of fixing their mistakes. This blog post might even serve as a refresher course for the auditors who process the Post Summary Corrections daily.
The key lies in identifying whether the liquidation date has passed for the entry with the mistake.
What is Liquidation?
As defined in 19 CFR §159.1, liquidation is the “final computation or ascertainment of duties on entries for consumption or drawback entries”. 
Each Entry has a liquidation date. This liquidation date occurs 314 days after entry submission.
The liquidation date has NOT passed
File a Post Summary Correction (“PSC”)
A Post Summary Correction, or PSC, allows filers (individuals or persons who actually fill out the Entry Summary) to correct mistakes that legally need to be corrected pursuant to 19 USC 1484 and 1485. A PSC is filed electronically through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).
In order for a PSC to be accepted, it must meet certain criteria, including that the entry summary must be accepted status or the entry cannot be under United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) review, which can all be found on the CBP website. 
Furthermore, PSCs can only be filed for certain kinds of mistakes such as fixing mistakes on entry types relating to Consumption, Temporary Importation Bonds, or Government-Dutiable entries. 
The liquidation date HAS passed.
File a Protest
A Protest allows importers, brokers, filers, and even attorneys to contest United States Customs and Border Protection decisions relating to imported merchandise by filing a protest using the CBP Form 19. A Protest has no statutory requirements, compared to a PSC, which has multiple statutory requirements. A Protest must be filed within 180 days of liquidation. The CBP 19 Form will ask for information such as Entry number, Port of Entry, and detailed reasons for the protest. This protest should be filed with the Port Director at the port in which the entry was made. 
File a Prior Disclosure
Customs and Border Protection has the authority to enact monetary penalties when those mistakes on the Entry Summaries go beyond small mistakes to be identified as “material false statements”, which include but are not limited to “undervaluation, misdescription of merchandise, misclassification, overvaluation, evasion of an antidumping/countervailing duty (AD/CVD) order, improper country of origin declarations or markings, or improper claims for preferential tariff treatment under a free trade agreement or other duty preference program”. 
When a mistake of this nature has been made, importers, filers, etc. have the opportunity to file a Prior Disclosure which discloses the nature of the violation to CBP before a formal investigation into these violations has commenced. The preventative nature of this Prior Disclosure could result in reduced penalties.
A Prior Disclosure has no time frame limitation. However, it must be filed before CBP begins a formal investigation into the false statements. CBP recommends that all prior disclosures must be submitted in writing to a CBP or ICE/HIS officer. 
What if the 315 days after entry submission have passed, so you cannot file a Post Summary Correction? What if 180 days after the date of liquidation have passed, so you cannot file a Protest? What if your mistake does not meet the criteria needed to file a Prior Disclosure?
The last resort: 19 CFR § 159.12. This statute under the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations could provide a path towards a last attempt at correcting the mistake on the Entry Summary. Pursuant to 19 CFR § 159.12, a filer could seek an extension of time for liquidation as a last resort. Under this statute, a United States Customs and Border Protection Center Director may extend the 1-year statutory period for liquidation. The filer has the burden of showing good cause that “satisfies the Center Director that more time is needed to present to CBP information which will affect the pending action, or there is a similar question under review by CBP”.  The Center Director would then grant this extension of time for liquidation, allowing the filer to file the necessary documents to correct the mistakes in the entry.  The request must be in the form of writing sent to the Center Director. The Center Director has a cap while granting the extension. They can extend the time for liquidation “for an additional period not to exceed 1 year”. 
Seeking an extension for time of liquidation is not common practice. However, it is valuable to understand all of the options available to filers, importers, brokers, etc. when importing delicate merchandise (delicate refers to the glass bottles rather than the strength of the distilled spirits).
Mistakes happen. However, how you handle the mistakes defines who you are, how your business is run, and what kind of relationship you will maintain with United States Customs and Border Protection. Therefore, it is crucial to do everything in your power to fix the mistakes.
 “19 CFR § 159.1 – Definition of Liquidation.” Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/19/159.1.
 “Post Summary Corrections.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 31 July 2020, www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/entry-summary/post-summary-correction?_ga=2.255321358.760091169.1624556234-626277575.1624556234.
 “Protests.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 16 Dec. 2020, www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/entry-summary/protests.
 “What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know: Prior Disclosure.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Aug. 2017, www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2020-Feb/Prior%20Disclosure%20FINAL.pdf.
 “19 CFR § 159.12 – Extension of Time for Liquidation.” Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/19/159.12.