Civil Fines and Penalties Debt: Review of U.S. Customs Service's Management and Collection Processes

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO reviewed the Customs Service's management of and practices for collecting civil fines and penalties (CFP) debt. GAO found that Customs' gross CFP debt more than tripled from the start of fiscal year 1997 to the end of fiscal year 2000, rising from $218.1 million as of October 1, 1996, to $773.6 million as of September 20, 2000. During the same period, Customs annually reserved from 75 to 87 percent of its reported CFP receivables in an allowance for uncollectible accounts. The primary reason for the ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. May 31, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO reviewed the Customs Service's management of and practices for collecting civil fines and penalties (CFP) debt. GAO found that Customs' gross CFP debt more than tripled from the start of fiscal year 1997 to the end of fiscal year 2000, rising from $218.1 million as of October 1, 1996, to $773.6 million as of September 20, 2000. During the same period, Customs annually reserved from 75 to 87 percent of its reported CFP receivables in an allowance for uncollectible accounts. The primary reason for the growth in Customs' reported uncollected CFP debt from fiscal year 1997 through fiscal year 2000 was the bankruptcy of a Customs broker in fiscal year 2000. The broker's bankruptcy resulted in Customs assessing 422 claims for $566 million and recording CFP receivables totaling $484 million during fiscal years 1999 and 2000. The remaining $82 million of assessed amounts was eliminated through the CFP mitigation process, and accordingly these amounts were not recorded as receivables. Customs can strengthen some of its CFP debt collection policies and procedures both by enhancing them and better adhering to them. The Office of Management and Budget stated that it had broad oversight responsibility for monitoring and evaluating governmentwide debt collection activities, but that it is the specific responsibility of the agency's office of inspector general to provide oversight through audits of the agency's debt collection activities. In addition, the Financial Management Service (FMS) officials stated that they rely on agencies to determine what debt should be referred to FMS for collection and offset as required by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, and Customs refers certain delinquent CFP debts to FMS for collection action."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 31, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Civil Fines and Penalties Debt: Review of U.S. Customs Service's Management and Collection Processes, report, May 31, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294851/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.