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Homeland Security/Law Enforcement: Customs Fee Collections (2011-79)

Clarifying availability of certain customs fee collections could produce a one-time savings of $640 million.

Action:

Congress could clarify the purposes for which the $639.4 million in unobligated balances is available. The unobligated balances have remained in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Customs User Fee Account for more than 10 years.

Progress:

Congress has not enacted legislation to clarify the availability of the $639.4 million unobligated balance in the Customs User Fee Account, as GAO suggested in March 2011. However, CBP officials told us that in September 2012, CBP transferred $639.4 million into an unavailable treasury receipt account. This action, according to these officials, effectively removed $639.4 million from CBP’s financial reports and addressed the House Committee on Appropriation’s request to provide a status of the funds and a path forward for eliminating these funds from CBP financial reports.[1] CBP officials said the $639.4 million has been marked as unavailable and plans no further action on the $639.4 million unless directed otherwise.

[1]The House of Representatives report accompanying the 2013 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill reported that these fee balances did not appear accessible to CBP. The House Appropriations Committee directed CBP to determine the availability of these funds and a path for eliminating them from CBP’s books no later than January 30, 2013. H.R. Rep. No. 112-492, at 31 (2012).

Implementing Entity:

Congress
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    • Susan J. Irving
    • Director, Strategic Issues
    • irvings@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-8288