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Chapter 10 - Customs Regulations

Chapter 10 - Customs Regulations

27.1001 Definitions.


As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

(a) “Agent” means the duly authorized representative of the owners of a vessel, aircraft or merchandise.

(b) “Aircraft” means every description of craft or other contrivance used or capable of being used as a means of transportation by air.

(c) “Baggage” means all trunks, boxes, suitcases, parcels or other luggage not included in the manifest of the ship or aircraft.

(d) “Captain”, “commander” or “pilot” of an aircraft means that person serving on the aircraft who has charge or command of its operation or navigation.

(e) “Captain” or “master” of a ship means the person in command of a ship for the time being, but does not include a harbor pilot.

(f) “Carrier”, unless the context requires otherwise, means any description of craft or other contrivance used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water or in the air, including pleasure vessels, vessels and non-vessels operating common carriers, and private aircraft.

(g) “Commercial vessel” means a vessel engaged in the transportation of passengers or property in commerce from port to port between one state, territory, district or posses-sion of the United States, or foreign country and any other state, territory, district or possession of the United States, or between places in American Samoa.

(h) “Consignee” means the person to whom goods or merchandise are shipped for first sale, use, manufacture, lease or rental, or whose name appears on the bill of lading.

(i) “Customs jurisdiction” means all compounds of all official ports of entry listed in subsection (o) of this section under the jurisdiction of Customs Division for clearance purposes in international travel. Customs jurisdiction shall extend to all U.S. Post Offices located within the Territory.

(j) “Customs officers” means any customs supervisor, customs inspector, customs canine officer, customs enforcement officer, customs lieutenant, customs captain, customs major, and any person authorized to perform the duties of a customs officer, including persons employed by another government agency. When performing their duties, customs officers shall be considered public officials/servants.

(k) “Entry” has two meanings: first, compliance with the legal requirements for the entering of a ship into the harbor; and second, the filing of documents and completion of transactions necessary to secure the release of merchandise from customs control.

(l) “Foreign” means any place beyond the limits of American Samoa.

(m) “Manifest” means a summary list of passengers and/or cargo on board a carrier, unless the context requires otherwise.

(n) “Merchandise” means goods, wares, and chattels of every description, and includes merchandise the importation of which is prohibited.

(o) “Official customs port of entry” means the following ports, where all vessels and aircraft on international travel and authorized entry into the Territory, must enter to obtain customs clearance:

(1) Pago Pago harbor;

(2) Pago Pago International Airport.

(p) “Owner” includes the person or persons legally having possession of a vessel, aircraft or merchandise, or his or their agents, and includes partnerships, associations and corporations.

(q) “Passenger” means any person carried on a vessel or aircraft who is not connected with the vessel or aircraft, or its navigation, ownership, or business, and whose name appears on the passenger list.

(r) “Port Director” means the Director of Port Administration.

(s) “Strip search” means a search in which some or all of the clothing of the person being searched is removed and subject to inspection for contraband and in which the partially or fully unclothed body of the person being searched is subjected to inspection for contraband. A custom officer performing such a search may, with due regard for the dignity and privacy of the person being searched, view the armpits, under the breasts, frontal groin area, the area between the buttock, and the interior of the mouth, but only medical personnel may search the anus or vagina of the person, where an anal or vaginal search yields contraband, the cost of such search shall be borne by the person fully searched; otherwise the cost shall be borne by the custom division.

(t) “Treasurer” means the treasurer of the American Samoa Government.

(u) “Vessel” means aircraft and every type of watercraft or other contrivance used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.

27.1002 Security at ports and airports.


(a) The Treasurer is responsible for establishing controls and maintaining security over merchandise warehouses at ports and airports.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (a), the Port Director is responsible for maintaining security for entry to, exit from and within, ports and airports.

27.1003 Inspection of persons and incoming merchandise and baggage.


(a) All persons entering or leaving American Samoa may be searched by a customs officer. All merchandise and baggage imported or brought into American Samoa from any foreign country shall be unladed in the presence of, and inspected by, a customs officer, and that officer may require the owner or his agent or other person having charge or possession of any trunk, traveling bag, sack, valise or other container, or any closed vehicle, to open it for inspection.

(b) The customs officer may inspect without warrant any person arriving in the Territory to determine whether such person is violating the laws and regulations pertaining to entry into American Samoa of individuals, vessels and goods. A strip search may be performed if there is real or reasonable suspicion supported by the objective and articulable facts that the passenger is concealing evidence of a crime or contraband upon his or her person.

(c) Security area:

(1) Any person who voluntarily enters a security area at the airport or seaport is subject to customs inspection as provided for in this section.

(2) Prospective passengers who enter a security area at the airport or seaport and later decide not to travel are required to return through customs inspection and clearance in the same manner as an arriving passenger on international travel.

(d) Without a search warrant but upon reasonable cause to suspect that the mail contains dutiable or prohibited items, designated customs officers of American Samoa may open or inspect the contents of mail in the customs inspection of mail which has originated outside the customs territory of American Samoa and is addressed for delivery inside American Samoa.

(e) The inspections may be conducted only in accordance with part 820, USPS Publication 42, International Mail, relating to cooperation with the U.S. Customs Service on inspection of imports.

(f) Unless any of the following actions are authorized by a search warrant issued under Rule 41 of the High Court Rules of Criminal Procedure, customs personnel shall not read, allow any other person to read, divulge, or transfer to any other person any correspondence contained in sealed mail; or divulge, read, allow any other person to read, or listen to any paper or recording which is correspondence for the blind contained in unsealed mail; or divulge, read, allow any other person to read, or transfer to any other person correspondence of school children in unsealed mail.

(g) Customs personnel shall not, without a search warrant, open, inspect, read, or seize any mail in postal custody which has not originated outside American Samoa or which has diplomatic or consular immunity from customs inspection (USPS Publication 42, International Mail, sections 821.la and 821.lb.).

27.1004 Spectators.


Only individuals directly associated with the enforcement of the laws of the Territory, applicable laws of the U.S. Federal Government, which are administered at the ports of entry in the Territory, individuals who provide maintenance and service to a carrier, and arriving passengers or arriving crew members shall be permitted entry into any area between the carrier and the customs inspection area including all ramps, aprons, gangplanks, stairways, walkways, and all passageways and lavatories accessible and used by the operator of a carrier for transporting cargo from the carrier to the operator’s warehouse or storage facility. Unauthorized individuals or persons without valid, official access badges, found in any of these areas shall be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and subject to civil and criminal penalties as set forth in this chapter.

27.1005 Customs entry and declaration.


(a) All passengers and crew members regardless of citizenship must make a customs entry and declaration upon arrival in American Samoa. All articles and merchandise acquired abroad and their value (price actually paid for, or, if not purchased, fair retail value in the Territory) must be declared in writing. Written declarations must be signed and presented to the customs officer on duty before examination pursuant to the inspection.

(b) A passenger or crew member, required by this section to make customs entry and declaration, shall be cleared by a customs officer only if the passenger or crew member has completed the form required under 27.1005(a) above.

(c) To facilitate inspection, the prescribed form for making customs entry and declaration shall be printed in both the English and the Samoan languages.

(d) The captain of an aircraft, the master of a vessel, other crew members, the operator of the carrier or vessel, or its agent, and all individuals who willfully allow any other individuals to conceal any item brought on board with the intention to violate the laws of American Samoa, shall be punished with a fine and/or imprisonment equal to the maximum penalty provided by the law which the individual(s) intended to violate.

27.1006 Landing certificate.


(a) The master of any vessel may not allow to be landed, land, or receive passengers, baggage, goods, or merchandise without a certificate from the Treasurer, enumerating the persons or articles to be landed or received and indicating the place for landing and receiving.

(b) The Treasurer shall provide the Port Director a copy of the certificate.

27.1007 Production of documents by entering or leaving vessels.


(a) A vessel entering or leaving American Samoa must produce on demand of the Treasurer:

(1) clearance from last port;

(2) registry certificate’

(3) manifest, freight list, bills of lading, and other accounts of merchandise;

(4) bills of health;

(5) list of passengers;

(6) list of crew;

(7) shipping articles;

(8) ship’s license;

(9) such other papers as may be required for proper entry or departure.

(b) No passengers or cargo may be landed or loaded until the papers requested have been produced and certified to be correct.

(c) The Treasurer shall provide the Port Director a copy of the certificate.

27.1008 Exemptions from certificate and production of documents requirements.


The following vessels and aircraft shall be exempt from 27.1006 and 27.1007:

(1) vessels or aircraft of war;

(2) public vessels or aircraft;

(3) vessels or aircraft not permitted by the laws of the nation to which they belong to transport passengers or merchandise for hire;

(4) vessels arriving for the purpose of taking on bunker fuel or sea stores, without landing or taking on passengers or merchandise; the master or agent shall certify under oath the amount of fuel and sea stores so taken; a vessel taking on ships stores or equipment shall be required to make entry;

(5) vessels and aircraft arriving in distress and remaining less than 72 hours.

27.1009 Boarding and searching vessels.


Any customs officer may at any time go on board any vessel at any place in American Samoa or within the customs water and examine the manifest and other documents and papers, and examine, inspect, and search the vessel and every part thereof and any person, trunk, package, or cargo on board. For this purpose, he may hail and stop such vessel and use all necessary force to compel compliance.

27.1010 Production of false papers-Fine.


Any master of a vessel being examined who presents any forged, altered, or false documents or paper knowing the same to be forged, altered, or false and without revealing such fact shall, in addition to any forfeiture to which the vessel may be subject, be liable to both criminal and civil penalties.

27.1011 Tampering prohibited.


(a) Any merchandise or goods of any and all description, for commercial or personal use, entering the Territory in crates, bundles, or any types of containers, may be sealed or ordered sealed by a customs officer pending inspection of the contents.

(b) Any owner, authorized representative, or consignee of cargo, goods or merchandise of any and all description entering the Territory, shall not open any crate, bundle, container, or any space which has been sealed or ordered sealed by a customs officer. This order may be given orally, in writing, or by affixing a seal or locking device on the crate, bundle, container or space in question.

(c) The customs division may authorize containers to be removed from official points of entry to other locations at the discretion of the chief customs officer prior to their inspection; however, the containers may not be opened until officially released by the customs division in writing. The breach of a customs seal without authorization by the customs division, the forcible opening of a locking device applied to a container by the customs division, or any other unauthorized tampering with cargo, goods or merchandise ordered sealed by a customs officer is a violation of these regulations.

(d) If a customs locking device has been damaged, the owner of the contents of the sealed crate, container or space, or his authorized representative, shall be held liable for the repair or replacement of the locking device. In addition said owner may forfeit any future privilege to have any sealed crate, container or space removed from the port of entry before the same is opened and inspected by a customs officer. Where a container, space or sealed crate is required to remain at the port of entry due to prior seal breaking, owner of the same must bear the cost of having the merchandise counted there unloaded and loaded. In addition to the above, any violation of this section will subject the owner of a container whose seal has been broken to a penalty of up to $10,000.”

27.1012 Breach of law on Boarded vessel— Seizures and arrests.


If upon examination of any vessel it appears that a breach of the laws of American Samoa is being or has been committed so as to render the vessel, or the merchandise, or any part thereof, on board of, or brought into American Samoa by such vessel, liable to forfeiture, or to secure any fine or penalty, the same shall be seized and any person who has engaged in such breach shall be arrested.

27.1013 Landing and reloading of vessels in distress.


A permit to land and reload cargo may be granted to vessels in distress when such action is necessary. Landing and reloading shall be under the supervision of the port Director and shall be subject to a reasonable charge for handling and storage.

27.1014 Custody of imports.


All imports destined for American Samoa shall be landed and removed by the carrier to a warehouse or other suitable place which the Port Director shall provide, shall be taken into custody there by the Treasurer, and shall be released only on the Treasurer’s order.

27.1015 Vessel to vessel transfer.


(a) A vessel may transfer, free of duty, to another vessel of the same line, bunker fuels, sea stores, ships stores or equipment, under the supervision of the Port Director.

(b) Other transfers may be authorized by the Treasurer, subject to the payment of all charges due.

27.1016 Right of possession of consigned merchandise.


All merchandise imported into American Samoa shall for the purposes of this chapter be deemed to belong to the consignee or to the holder of a bill of lading endorsed by the consignee.

27.1017 Furnishing of invoices to treasurer.


The receiver of any goods imported into American Samoa shall within 72 hours after arrival give the Treasurer a list of the goods, verified under oath, showing kind, quality, purchase price and charges incident to purchase and transportation. The Treasurer may waive the list when the value of the goods for custom duty purposes is $50 or less.

27.1018 Customs officers service fees.


(a) Charges shall be collected for services of customs officers from the owner, master or agency of a vessel as follows:

(1) attendance of customs officers at any place other than port of entry, per day, $30.00;

(2) attendance of customs officers outside of regular business hours, per hour, $15.00;

(3) granting clearance to commercial vessels per entry and per departure, $6.00;

(4) granting clearance to noncommercial vessels, per entry and per departure, $50.00.

(5) processing Customs Declaration of Entry forms, $5.00 per declaration per vessel. This charge shall not apply to passengers. The revenues from this charge shall be deposited in an account earmarked for and dedicated to the repayment of the government loan approved in 7.1444.5. Upon full repayment of said loan, collection of this tax shall be deposited in the general fund and shall be available for appropriation by the Legislature.

(b) The schedule of charges in paragraph (a) (1) and (a)(2) contemplates that those charges are calculated per man/per hour, or per man/per day, provided that where attendance of customs officers as paragraph (a)(1) is off Tutuila Island, the cost of travel, per diem, or other costs, including overtime, will be charged and collected from whomsoever requires such off-island attendance of customs officers.

27.1019 Release of imports.


(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no imports may be released from the custody of the Treasurer until all excise taxes and charges that may become due before delivery have been paid to the Treasurer, and the agent of the vessel has authorized delivery.

(b) Bulk petroleum products may be released before the payment of the excise taxes and charges if the importer is a “Petroleum Supplier” under the terms of a permit and agreement executed between the government and the petroleum terminal operator and has a valid operating agreement setting forth the time limits for payment and penalties for delinquent payment..

27.1020 Unclaimed baggage.


(a) Passenger or crew member’s baggage not claimed at the customs inspection area shall be retained by the carrier and placed in a safe place within the inspection area at the airport. Unclaimed baggage which is required to be stored in another location due to inadequate storage facilities within the inspection area of the airport, may be transferred by an authorized representative of the carrier liable for the security of the unclaimed baggage; provided however, the representative of the carrier obtains approval of the customs division and the shipper accepts the condition that spoilage and/or damage to the cargo is the liability of the shipper. Cargo released to the carrier or terminal operator shall not be opened by the carrier or terminal operator. The customs division shall have the right to take into custody any part of or all unclaimed baggage when a customs officer has probable cause to believe that the baggage contains taxable, prohibited or restricted merchandise. The customs officer may open and inspect such baggage in the presence of a representative of the carrier, even if the passenger or crew member is not present.

(b) Any baggage not claimed within 90 days of the date of entry, shall be returned to the point of origin by the carrier liable for the baggage.

27.1021 Unclaimed merchandise-Sale or destruction-Redemption.


(a) Any entered or unentered merchandise which remains in customs custody for a period of 90 days from the date of importation without the payment of excise taxes, storage or other charges thereon shall be considered unclaimed and abandoned to the government and shall be sold by the customs officer at public auction.

(b) Merchandise liable to depreciation in value by damage, leakage, or other causes to such extent that the proceeds of sale thereof may be insufficient to pay the duties, storage, and other charges if permitted to remain in customs custody for a period of 90 days may be sold forthwith.

(c) Merchandise subject to sale under this section may be withdrawn at any time prior to such sale upon payment of all duties, storage and other charges and expenses that may have accrued.

(d) Any merchandise abandoned, unclaimed, or forfeited to the government under the provisions of this chapter, and which the Treasurer shall be satisfied will not sell for a sufficient amount to pay such charges, shall forthwith be destroyed, rather than sold at auction.

27.1022 Proceeds of sale-Deposit into treasury.


(a) The surplus of proceeds of sale, after the payment of duties, storage charges, expenses and the satisfaction of any lien for freight charges, shall be deposited in the treasury of American Samoa if a claim therefor has not been filed within 30 days from date of sale.

(b) The owner of the merchandise sold shall, on due proof of his interest, be entitled to receive from the Treasurer the amount of any surplus of the proceeds of sale.

27.1023 Exoneration of master of vessel in which merchandise was imported.


The sale of unclaimed merchandise shall exonerate the master of the vessel in which the merchandise was imported from all claims of the owner of the merchandise.

27.1024 Explosives and gasoline.


The consignee of explosives or gasoline may be required to take possession within 24 hours or to pay the cost of removal and storage in a proper place.

27.1025 Liability for duties a personal debt and lien.


The liability for duties attaching on importation constitutes a personal debt due from the importer to the government which can be discharged only by payment in full of duties legally accruing. It may be enforced notwithstanding that an erroneous construction of law or regulation may have enabled the importer to pass his goods through the customs house without such payment. It also constitutes a lien upon the merchandise imported, which may be enforced as a possessory lien while the merchandise is in the custody or subject to the control of the government, and thereafter by an action in the appropriate court.

27.1026 Priorities in event of insolvency or bankruptcy of importer.


In case of the insolvency or bankruptcy of an importer, all debts, including duties due the governments of the United States and American Samoa, shall be first satisfied, and any assignee or trustee who fails to recognize this priority shall be personally liable.

27.1027 Contest of valuation-Reappraisal-Adjustments.


(a) If a person importing goods into American Samoa is of the opinion that an excessive valuation has been placed upon the goods imported and desires to protest the valuation as made, he shall so inform the chief customs officer and then submit, in writing, a request to the Governor of American Samoa that a Board of Appraisers be appointed to revalue the goods so imported and valued, setting forth in the request the reason for his opinion that the goods have been overvalued.

(b) The Governor shall thereupon appoint a Board of Appraisers (as a rule, consisting of 3 persons, depending upon the value of the goods involved) which shall, at its earliest convenience, proceed to reappraise the goods.

(c) The verdict of the Board of Appraisers, subject to the approval of the Governor, shall be final.

(d) If the valuation placed upon the goods by the Board of Appraisers is lower than the original valuation placed upon the goods, the government shall pay such expenses as may have been incurred by reason of this. If the appraisal made by the board of appraisers is equal to or higher than that originally levied, the importer shall be required to pay such expenses as may have been incurred by reason of the appointment of the board.

27.1028 Refund of duties or excise taxes.


(a) Customs duties or excise taxes paid under this chapter or 11.1001 et seq. on merchandise which is later sold to the United States Government or a private or governmental entity for export outside of American Samoa, shall be refunded on the basis of 100% for sales to the United States Government and 90% for sales for export outside of American Samoa to the vendor upon proof that the duty or tax was paid by the vendor, such sale was made, and the sales price did not include the amount of the duty or tax.

(b) For purposes of this section no refund shall be allowed in sales of less than $25 per line item.

(c) Application for the refund shall be made within 90 days of the date of the sale.

27.1029 Seized property-Liability.


When, in any prosecution or action on account of the seizure of any vessel, vehicle, merchandise or baggage by any collector or other officer, judgment is rendered for the claimant, and it appears to the court that there was reasonable cause for seizure, the court may enter an order to that effect. The claimant is not in any such case entitled to costs, or is the person who made the seizure, or the prosecutor, liable on account of any such suit or prosecution if the vessel, vehicle, merchandise or baggage be, after judgment, forthwith returned to such claimant or his agent.

27.1030 Losses caused by acts of God.


Neither the government, the customs department, nor any official or employee of the government is liable or responsible for the loss, damage or destruction of any property, goods or merchandise caused by or resulting from an act of God, including but not limited to fire, flood, earthquake or hurricane.

27.1031 Return of duty on released merchandise prohibited.


No remission, abatement, or refund of duty may be allowed on account of the destruction of any merchandise after its release from customs.

27.1032 Immunity of customs officers.


No customs officer or other authorized employee is in any way liable to any owner, importer, consignee, agent or any other person for or on account of any rulings or decisions concerning, or the duties charged on, any imported merchandise, or the collection of any dues or charges, or any other matter or thing as to which the owner, importer, consignee or agent might under these regulations be entitled to protest or appeal from the decision of such customs officer or other authorized employee.

27.1034 Exportation of contraband.


(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to export, attempt to export, or attempt to cause another to export from the Territory, or conceal for the purpose of exportation, any of the following items:

(1) Controlled substances as defined in A.S.C.A. Title 13, Chapter 10.

(2) Currency, coin, travelers checks, money orders, and/or negotiable instruments of a total of more than $10,000.00 (ten thousand dollars) unless the same is reported to the Customs Division in a signed customs declaration form prior to leaving the Territory.

(3) Firearms other than rifles with a bore not exceeding .22 caliber and shotguns other than those with a gauge of 12, 16, 20, and 410 and otherwise in compliance with A.S.C.A. Title 46, Chapter 42.

(4) Ammunition other than regular .22 caliber cartridges and shotgun shells for the shotguns described in subsection (3).

(5) Arms as defined in A.S.C.A. 46.4220.

(6) Goods, merchandise or commodities that violate international or U.S. copyright or patent laws.

(b) Any person who violates or attempts to violate this section shall, upon conviction, be sentenced for a class D felony, in addition to any other penalty or fine which may otherwise be imposed under this chapter.

(c) Individuals attempting to export contraband or merchandise from American Samoa unlawfully shall have such contraband or merchandise seized by customs officers and subjected to forfeiture.

27.1035 Interference with customs officer’s duties.


Any person, who is being submitted to an authorized inspection by a customs officer, or any person accompanying such person, or any bystanders, shall not in any way interfere with such officer’s performance of his duties.

27.1036 Oaths.


All authorized customs officers shall be empowered to administer any oaths required or authorized by these regulations in respect to any matter coming before such officers in the performance of their official duties. No compensation or fee shall be demanded or accepted for administering any oaths under the provisions of this section.

27.1037 Conflict of interests.


No person employed in the customs office may be concerned directly or indirectly with the importation of articles into American Samoa, or shall own any interest in a vessel used for such purpose, or shall act as the agent, attorney or consignee in connection with imports.

27.1038 Authority to prescribe rules and forms.


The Treasurer may make rules and prescribe forms needed to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

27.1039 Use of U.S.C. and C.F.R. as a guide.


In situations not covered by provisions of this chapter, those provisions of the United States Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations, which relate to customs, shall be used as a guide, insofar as practicable.

27.1040 Violation-Penalty.


Except as elsewhere provided, any person convicted of violating or attempting to violate any provision in this chapter is guilty of a class A misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be sentenced accordingly; and all goods or vessels in any way connected with any breach or attempted breach of any provision in this chapter may be seized by a customs officer and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. In addition to or lieu of the criminal penalties imposed, a fine up to the amount of $10,000.00 may be assessed.

27.1041 Enforcement.


(a) Customs officers shall be duly sworn and shall have the authority to:

Seize any evidence related to any violation of any provisions of this chapter;

Detain any person suspected of violating any section or subsection of this chapter until a properly authorized arresting officer arrives to make the arrest.

27.1042 Due process following seizure.


Contraband, undeclared goods, merchandise, and commodities or falsely declared goods, merchandise and commodities are subject to seizure and forfeiture in accordance with the following process:

(a) Seizure notice: The importer or exporter is to be provided with a “Notice of Seizure” listing the items seized, the law(s) violated, the violator’s options and the customs contact location and telephone number and advising that the goods will be forfeited. Customs will also send identical seizure notices to all other known persons with a valid interest in the property, who have the same or similar rights as the violator. A copy shall be directed to the Attorney General and, in the event of alleged criminal violations, to the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

(b) Opportunity for Hearing: Should the individual whose goods have been seized desire to appeal or contest the seizure, he may do so by filing a complaint in the High Court within thirty (30) days of receipt of the Seizure Notice.

(c) Forfeiture: If no complaint is filed in accordance with (b) above, the goods will be deemed forfeited and transferred to the government. In a contested case, upon the entry of a final, non-appealable order in which the government prevails, the goods will be deemed forfeited and transferred to the government. Upon forfeiture, the government may dispose of the goods as it may see fit or in accordance with any court order. Upon the entry of a final, non-appealable order in which the individual prevails, the seized goods will be returned to the individual or otherwise dealt with as the court may direct.

(d) Expedited processing: The chief customs officer may promulgate rules for expedited processing of the above procedures if the items seized are subject to spoilage or stale dating. These rules shall specify time limitations for filing of appeals and legal petitions so that the goods may be subject to forfeiture before they are subject to spoilage or stale dating. The chief customs officer shall provide due diligence in storage of such goods to prevent premature spoilage or stale dating, and any such costs incurred in such storage shall be recovered from the violator/claimant before goods are released.

27.1043 Discovery of non-payment of excise tax.


When in the course of any lawful investigation by any governmental entity, it is revealed that goods have been received or sold by a business or individual without proper excise tax having been paid, said goods shall be subject to imposition of all due and proper tax. In addition, said goods shall also be subject to any and all accompanying civil and criminal penalties applicable to the importation and/or sale of goods without payment of appropriate taxes.

Upon determination that proper excise taxes on goods have not been paid, the customs division will have the authority to impose back taxes, penalties and interest on all goods in question.

27.1044 Purchase and sale of merchandise from the Post Exchange (PX).


(a) The Post Exchange (PX) is established solely for the use and benefit of its members. Any goods purchased from the PX are strictly for the personal use of the member making the purchase and shall not be resold or otherwise transferred unless proper excise taxes are paid.

(b) Any transfer of goods purchased from the PX, except bona fide gifts to immediate family members, without payment of proper excise taxes, is prohibited.

(c) Upon a violation of any provision of this section, any goods having been transferred without payment of proper excise taxes will be subject to seizure by the customs division. Any person convicted of transferring goods purchased at the PX in violation of this section shall be liable for payment of proper excise taxes on those goods and an additional fifty percent (50%) penalty on the value of those excise taxes. In addition, the member may be subjected to the criminal penalties contained in section 27.1040.

(d) The Attorney General shall report abuses of PX privileges to appropriate federal authorities and seek the revocation of the violator’s PX privileges.

27.1045 Collection of unpaid excise tax.


(a) If a consignee owes delinquent excise taxes or any fees or penalties, the chief customs officer may refuse to release any goods from the customs jurisdiction to the consignee until such delinquent account is settled.

(b) If a consignee makes payment by check or other instrument for payment of any excise tax, customs fee, or penalty, and that check or instrument is not honored by the bank in cash either because of insufficient funds, stop payment order or other reason, then the consignee shall be deemed to have not paid the excise tax, customs fee or penalty, and shall be immediately subject to make payment in cash or certified check for the amount due. The consignee shall also be liable for penalty and interest as follows:

(1) The maximum of $25 or 2% of the amount due if paid within five days of notice of delinquency, or

(2) The maximum of $25 or 5% of the amount due if paid within fifteen days of notice of delinquency, or

(3) The maximum of $25 or 10% of the amount due if paid within thirty days of notice of delinquency, or

(4) The maximum of $25 or 10% of the amount due plus simple interest calculated at 8% per annum based on the amount due including penalty from the date of the check.

(c) A customs officer may seize and/or reseal any container that has left the customs jurisdiction but upon which the excise tax was not properly paid.