Customs Service:

Information on User Fees

GGD-94-165FS: Published: Jun 17, 1994. Publicly Released: Jun 17, 1994.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on U.S. Customs Service user fees, focusing on: (1) the structure of Customs' user fees; (2) Customs' use of user fee revenues; (3) the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Customs' user fees; and (4) how changes to Customs' overtime and premium pay system will affect user fee revenues and appropriation accounts.

GAO found that: (1) the Customs user fee program consists of conveyance- and passenger-related user fees and commerce-related merchandise processing fees (MPF) for processing barges and bulk carriers from Canada and Mexico; (2) in 1993, user fee revenues totalled $733.4 million; (3) Customs uses user fee revenues to fund various inspectional services, pay for inspectional overtime work and preclearance costs, and hire additional personnel and purchase equipment; (4) Customs has used user fee revenues in accordance with their intended purpose; (5) in 1993, MPF revenues offset the costs of Customs' commercial operations including duty, tax, and import merchandise fee collection; (6) NAFTA has increased some air and sea passenger user fees, and eliminated the passenger processing fee exemption for passengers traveling to the United States from Canada, Mexico, U.S. territories and possessions, and adjacent islands; (7) the elimination of the fee exemption will generate an additional $156 million in revenues annually; and (8) it could not determine how the changes to Customs' overtime and premium pay system will affect user fee revenues and appropriation accounts because Customs has not fully implemented the proposed changes.

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