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Customs Liquidators
Significant Points

This series includes all classes of positions the duties of which are to administer, supervise, or perform work involving the examination, acceptance, processing, or issuance of documents required for the entry of imported merchandise into the United States and the initial classification of merchandise covered by the entries; the final determination of the statutory classification of merchandise covered by the entries; the determination of customs duties and applicable internal revenue taxes accruing on such merchandise; the ascertainment of drawback to be paid on exported articles manufactured with the use of duty-paid or tax-paid imported merchandise or substituted domestic merchandise; and the determination of the validity of protests against liquidation decisions on formal entries.

Nature of the Work

Import liquidating

Liquidation of import entries is the final settlement of accounts between importers and the Government, taking into consideration the numerous possible adjustments in duty and applicable tax payable which may have become necessary (subsequent to the acceptance of the entry and payment of the estimated duty and taxes) as a result of inspection, appraisal, warehousing, ascertainment of precise amounts of merchandise, determination of officially correct currency conversion rates, loss of or damage to the merchandise, and for similar reasons.

The work performed by liquidators on individual formal entries is similar wherever performed, although it is characterized by the application of numerous methods and procedures which vary with the kind of merchandise and the type of entry involved. These duties are not described at each level at which liquidating work occurs but are set forth as follows:

A liquidator examines entry and related documents pertaining to the tariff status of merchandise, and certain other documents such as owner's declarations to be filed after entry, to insure the presence of all required documents and their validity with respect to timeliness of filing, inclusion of necessary in formation, correctness of such information and its consistency among the various documents, and presence of signatures and authorizations. The legal requirements depend in each case upon the type of entry, conditions of entry, nature of merchandise, reports of findings or nature of action taken by other customs officers, whether merchandise has been subjected to manipulation under bond, and other similar considerations. The liquidator, in performance of these functions:

(1) Accounts for merchandise entered, and quantities and weights on which duty and applicable internal revenue tax are assessable, by examining entry forms, invoices, entry permits, reports of inspectors and warehouse officers, reports and claims of damages and shortages, reports of appraising officers, and weighers' and gaugers' records;

(2) Insures that restricted merchandise items and commodities (such as food, plant or animal products, currency, narcotics, gold, etc.) meet conditions established by other agencies of the Government including commodities subject to Foreign Assets Control;

3) Determines acceptability of claims in support of passing as free of duty merchandise imported conditionally free;

(4) Statutorily classifies merchandise under appropriate paragraphs of the Tariff Act of 1930 as amended;

(5) Corrects any error, mistake of fact, or other inadvertence, not amounting to an error in the construction of a law, adverse to the importer and manifest from the record or established by documentary evidence, in any entry, liquidation, appraisement or other customs transactions, when the error, mistake, or inadvertence is brought to the attention of the Customs Service within one year after the date of the entry, appraisement, or transaction;

(6) Compares appraised unit prices and conditions for agreement with all available documents filed in connection with an entry, determines whether any uniformly nondutiable charges have been included in the value and accepted by the appraising officer, and determines total dutiable value of merchandise by verifying unit values of dutiable and nondutiable charges, discounts, and applicable taxes, where necessary prorating such items among articles carrying different rates of duty, according to their size, weight or value;

(7) Prepares a legal liquidation in cases where an inadvertence or error in appraisement which is adverse to the Government is discovered, and which may not be legally demanded; constructs an additional statement of duties which would have accrued had there been no such inadvertence or error, which is sent to the importer with a request that the withheld duties be paid voluntarily;

(8) Converts foreign weights and measures to United States units and converts foreign currency to United States currency, insuring that rates of exchange are based on actual dates of exportation and determining whether a proclaimed or certified rate should be used, or if no certified rate is available, whether one should be requested;

(9) Adjusts invoiced quantities to agree with reports of customs officers and determines duty assessable by applying appropriate rates based upon value finally determined to be correct;

(10) Determines applicable internal revenue taxes assessable;

(11) Makes allowances for shortages and breakages and for merchandise lost, stolen, destroyed, or abandoned, and on the basis of reports and evidence submitted in support of such claims;

(12) Where applicable, assesses and determines additional duties for countervailing, dumping, marking, or other special duties;

(13) Determines additional amounts due or amounts to be refunded, taking into account the estimated duty and applicable internal revenue tax deposited on entry of merchandise or subsequent to entry;

(14) Reliquidates entries when necessary, applying the new technical conditions based on his knowledge of the new rulings, Presidential Proclamations, or recently enacted laws, Court decisions, or reversal by the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, which necessitated such reliquidations.

The liquidator observes in his examination of documents apparent attempts at fraud, and calls them to the attention of his supervisor for possible investigation by the Customs Agency Service.

Statutory classification procedure

The statutory classification of imported merchandise (as distinguished from the initial classification made by the customs entry officer and the advisory classification made by the customs examiner) is accomplished in the liquidation of an entry. This is the decision made in the name of the Collector of Customs which constitutes the classification practice referred to in the Tariff Act and which may be protested formally for review by the courts. Determination of the statutory classification of imported merchandise under provisions of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, sections of related statutes and the Customs Simplification Acts of 1953, 1954, and 1956, requires a good general knowledge of grade, quality, construction, condition and use of merchandise, together with the method of manufacture or production as well as thorough knowledge of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, the Customs Simplification Acts, pertinent trade agreements and treaties, and the legal application of present classification definitions.

In statutorily classifying merchandise, the customs liquidator:

(1) Examines and analyzes the evidence submitted in invoices, reports, affidavits, certificates and other documents, including the appraiser's suggested advisory classification and description of the merchandise, concerning the kind, class, use, quality, measure, weight, or other characteristics of the merchandise;

(2) Selects the appropriate basis for statutory classification by determining the use for which the merchandise is intended, its similitude to other merchandise (the classification of which is settled), and the characteristics of construction or component materials which place it within a specific provision of the proper paragraph of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended;

3) Determines relative specificity in applying seemingly conflicting paragraphs of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended;

(4) Makes fine distinctions between paragraphs or portions of the same paragraph and where necessary selects the appropriate one of several rates in one provision. The liquidation of an entry may be delayed for years for various reasons. Since the import classification situation is changing continuously to conform with additional data, new trade agreements, statutes, economic conditions, court decisions, etc., the conclusions drawn at the time of liquidation may differ completely from those based on earlier available information and circumstances. Nevertheless, the statutory classification made at the time of liquidation is the one to which the Government is committed when the liquidation becomes final.

Drawback liquidating

Drawback liquidating (as distinguished from import liquidating) involves the determination of refund to the exporter of duties or taxes, or both, allowed by the Government on export of articles manufactured or produced in the United States with the use of imported merchandise, or with the use of domestic merchandise substituted for imported merchandise, or with the use of tax-paid merchandise; or refunds allowed in certain other situations (for example, when rejected imported merchandise is returned).

There is no "estimate of drawback due" made by either the claimant or by any customs officer before the drawback liquidator makes his independent de termination of the drawback due. Millions of dollars are refunded annually as a result of the decisions of the drawback liquidator. Almost every commodity has its own deviation from any so-called general norm; due to the complicated nature of the drawback law and regulations, the great variety of the products dealt with, and materials used in the manufacture thereof (each of which may have its own characteristic problem), such deviations are frequent. A separate drawback rate is issued by the Bureau of Customs to each manufacturer, there by eliminating any possibility of generalization except for the utilization of forms. (A drawback rate means the quantity of imported material which the Bureau of Customs directs shall be taken by the collector of customs as a basis for determining the drawback due.)

Since changes in manufacturing processes and technological developments are occurring constantly and since new uses are being developed for products, by-products, and wastes, drawback liquidation work is not static. Changes create new problems demanding immediate and direct exercise of sound and independent judgment and require the developing of facility in rapidly locating applicable precedents, decisions, and orders.

Drawback liquidating work involves the final settlement of drawback entries and certificates of manufacture covering a variety of exported articles, requiring use of a knowledge of manufacturing processes and application of complex methods and procedures which vary with the kind of article exported and conditions and processes of manufacture subsequent to importation. The work performed by drawback liquidators is similar wherever performed. These duties have not been described in detail at the level at which such positions occur, but are set forth as follows:

The drawback liquidator examines drawback entries, certificates of manufacture, and associated documents to verify (a) presence of documents required to establish completeness of drawback claims and compliance with laws and regulations by the claimant and any other parties involved (such documents include Bureau of Customs authorizations setting forth the basis for liquidation with respect to articles exported, manufacturers' statements, declarations, certificates of importation, certificates of delivery, abstracts of manufacturing records, notices of exportation, collectors' certification as to facts of exportation and name of exporter, weight, measure, or count of exported merchandise, reports of appraising officers, entry documents and others); (b) correctness and completeness of documents and presence of required signatures; and (c) timeliness of filing documents, of receipt of imported merchandise by manufacturers, of use of imported merchandise or domestic merchandise substituted for imported merchandise in the manufacture of exported articles, and of exportation. The drawback liquidator in performance of these functions:

(1) From pertinent documents, establishes the identity of imported duty-paid merchandise on which drawback is claimed, from the original import entry and subsequent transfers of ownership and processes of manufacture to ultimate exportation, to determine that such imported merchandise was used in the manufacture of exported articles;
(2) Determines that legal requirements have been met with respect to evidence of exportation, right of claimant to receive drawback and payment of duties and applicable internal revenue taxes on the imported merchandise used or of applicable internal revenue taxes on domestic merchandise used;
(3) Determines whether statutory time for filing a protest against the liquidation of the import entry has elapsed or whether importer has waived the right to protest;
(4) Determines that information submitted on the certificates of manufacture, drawback entry, and accompanying documents shows compliance with the manufacturer's statement as to manufacturing processes used, quantities of spoilage and recoverable waste, loses in processing, percentage of imported materials used in finished articles, disposal of waste, and other related conditions;
(5) Insures, in connection with drawback claims involving substitution of duty free or domestic merchandise for duty-paid imported merchandise in the production of exported articles, that such substituted merchandise is of the same kind and quality as the imported merchandise on which drawback is claimed, considering nature, source, and method of production of substituted materials;
(6) Determines amount of duties and applicable internal revenue taxes paid on imported or tax-paid domestic materials used in the production of exported articles by following processes used in original liquidation of the import entry;
(7) By using such factors as (a) amount, quantity, weight, or other measure of imported and domestic ingredients used, (b) type and quantity of waste incurred, (c) value of wastes incurred and (d) amount, quantity, weight or other measure of articles produced, determines duty or applicable tax paid on ingredients used, quantity of imported ingredients used, quantity of imported merchandise which the value of waste will replace, quantity of imported ingredients represented by recoverable waste, quantity of imported ingredients allowable or designated for production of finished articles, or drawback per unit of finished articles with adjustments for exportations made beyond the legal time limit, or any combination thereof;
(8) Applies the unit rate of drawback or the applicable unit rate of duty, or both, and determines total amount of drawback due on imported merchandise. The drawback liquidator calls to the attention of his supervisor, for possible investigation by the Customs Agency Service, any apparent deviations from processes and conditions of manufacture in the manufacturers' statements.

(Although the drawback liquidator is concerned with the verification of details and intricacies of drawback transactions on the basis of documentary evidence presented, documentary evidence alone is not sufficient to permit the Bureau of Customs adequately to control drawback transactions. The Customs Agency Service participates to a very substantial degree in controlling drawback transactions by making inspections, examinations and investigations to verify accuracy of manufacturers' statements, certificates of manufacture, nature of manufacturing processes, controls exercised by the manufacturer over imported or tax-paid merchandise, quantities, nature and causes of waste, any deviation from normal situations in manufacturing, disposal of waste products, etc. Thus, in addition to performing investigations of possible frauds in connection with drawback as well as other customs transactions, the Customs Agency Service also performs the regular on-the-spot inspections required in connection with drawback entries.)

Protest review

The review of protests involves the final administrative analysis and disposition of claims made by importers and their representatives against collectors' decisions on liquidations of all types of import entries, or against other related charges, exactions, refusals, and decisions by collectors. Such review permits only two alternative decisions by the protest reviewer in the name of the collector; either the correctness of the protest must be accepted and the original action adjusted accordingly, or, failing to reach such a finding, the protest must be referred to a customs court, accompanied by the collector's defense of his decision, ruling, or finding. The work performed in reviewing protests is similar wherever performed. These duties have not been described in detail at the level included in the standards but are set forth as follows:

The protest reviewer examines each protest or group of related protests to insure that filing has been done within the statutory time limit, and that the protestant has a proper interest. He/She:

(1) Reviews the original liquidated entry to determine the correctness of prior actions taken and previous decisions made which are or may be pertinent to the consideration of the protest, including actions taken and decisions made on (a) classification of imported merchandise; (b) assessment of duties and applicable internal revenue taxes; (c) assessment of countervailing or other special duties; (d) dutiable weight or other dutiable measure of merchandise; (e) computation of tare, dutiable value and/or the inclusion of charges, taxes, commissions and expenses in the calculation of total dutiable value; (f) allowance of amounts of duty and/or applicable internal revenue tax because of claimed shortage, leakage or damage; (g) status of merchandise from communist-controlled countries; (h) applicability of quotas, trade agreements, public laws and Presidential proclamations; (I) status of conditionally free merchandise; (j) waiving of requirements (when such waivers are discretionary with the collector); (k) conversion of foreign currency; (1) assessment of liquidated damages; (m) duties and applicable taxes; (n) correction of errors; (o) right to make entry; (p) refusal by the collector to post liquidations; and all other actions taken by customs officers;

(2) Studies all facts pertinent to the entry and all facts and opinions expressed in the protest which states the action protested, analyzes the underlying reason or reasons for the protest, and makes a determination with respect to such reasons;

(3) Develops by investigation, additional information and facts required for a determination of the issues and of the merits of the protest or those necessary to the collector's defense;

(4) Studies the Tariff Act, as amended, regulations and rulings under the act, pertinent provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and related Federal statutes and regulations, to locate applicable precedents and governing provisions of law and regulations;

(5) Conducts intensive research into precedent Treasury and court decisions and rulings, examines various court records, utilizes resources of other Government agencies (including Government laboratory facilities and public and special libraries) to develop technical information pertinent to the issues; consults with customs officers and representatives of other Government agencies, members of trade organizations, and experts in commerce and industry to obtain required information; obtains samples and exhibits; interviews and obtains qualified witnesses willing to testify for the Government;

(6) If the original liquidation action is sustained, prepares a report (when necessary, a "master report") summarizing issues involved and rebutting contentions of the protestant; citing and interpreting applicable law, regulations, and precedents; giving opinions of trade experts, appraisers and other customs officers; and naming witnesses who are willing to testify for the Government, and giving the scope and substance of their testimony;

(7) In validating a protest, prepares a report directing a modification of the collector's original liquidation action in whole or in part, as necessary;

(8) In connection with the study of certain cases, recommends for consideration by the Bureau of Customs changes in practice in the classification of merchandise, and as assigned makes studies of specific phases of the administration of the Tariff Act, as amended, or effects of certain of its provisions on the collection of revenue;

(9) Without referring to the Bureau of Customs, reconciles differences of opinion between the offices of the collector and the comptroller with respect to the validation of protests, and between the offices of the collector and the appraiser with respect to protested classification of merchandise;

(10) Where such differences cannot be resolved, prepares a statement of the collector's position for submission to the Bureau;

(11) After action by the deputy collector, approves and returns acceptable stipulations of fact submitted by protestants or their attorneys to the Office of the United States Attorney and referred to the collector for review, and disapproves and returns unacceptable stipulations without referring to the deputy collector;

(12) On request by the Office of the United States Attorney and on assignment by the deputy collector, attends pre-trial conferences in the United States Attorney's office and assists at trials of protest issues in the United States Customs Court;

(13) Examines decisions of the Customs Court and prepares opinions on the advisability of rehearings and appeals to the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals; develops reports similar in nature to master reports, in connection with the preparation of new cases for trial when application of decisions of the Customs Courts is limited by the Bureau of Customs to specific importations or issues covered by such decisions;

(14) Furnishes authoritative advice and information on customs protest procedures and legal requirements to importers and their attorneys, brokers, and others.

General criteria

The grade level evaluation of positions in this series depends primarily upon (1) the scope and difficulty of the entry and liquidation problems encountered (2) the nature and availability of guidelines and supervisory controls; (3) the original thinking which the entry officer or liquidator is required to do; (4) the nature, scope, and purpose of personal contacts; (5) the extent to which technical decisions and conclusions are relied upon without detailed review, and the effect of such decisions and conclusions upon segments of the national or international economy; and (6) the intensiveness and extensiveness of specialized knowledge, abilities, and skills required.

The specific values of these criteria in classifying entry officer or liquidator positions are directly controlled by the relative importance of the customs districts as characterized by their relative standing in the foreign trade aspects of the national economy. The characteristics of the customs districts are influenced by the types, varieties, and volume of commodities imported throughout the respective districts and by the areas and the industries for which these districts serve as import gateways. The incidence of new problems or those requiring more complex entry or liquidation determinations also directly affect the grade levels of the positions. Some of the factors causing high incidence of such problems are: (l) receipt of importations regularly from a number of highly industrialized producing countries, usually of types which are subject to ''ad valorem" or "compound" rates of duty; (2) irregular merchandising conditions peculiar to certain producing areas or certain commodities; (3) excessive multiplicity or paucity of sellers, producers, or manufacturers of a certain commodity; and (4) processing of importations that usually produce complex entry or liquidation problems (e.g., those falling within Tariff Act paragraph 1559 dealing with "use" classifications, those subject to the ''General Agreement on Tariff and Trade," or those requiring specialized technical or commercial knowledge).

Each determination of initial classification, right to make entry, statutory classification, and final settlement requires a specific decision of the entry officer or liquidator. Therefore, in classifying positions, higher grade level value is placed on positions at those headquarters or other ports of entry having the maximum incidence of problems as indicated by the extent or degree to which the above outlined factors are present. Lower grade level value is placed on positions at headquarters or other ports of entry having lesser incidence of such problems.

Generally, the work of positions in the series is governed by the following guides:

(a) Tariff Act of 1930, as amended;
(b) Customs Simplification Acts of 1953, 1954, and 1956;
(c) Regulations issued under the Acts;
(d) Customs Manual;
(e) Customs Regulations and appendix thereto;
(f) Bureau rulings and office orders;
(g) Treasury decisions;
(h) Customs Court decisions;
(i) Applicable excise tax provisions of the Internal Revenue Code;
(j) Applicable regulations of other Government agencies, including Foreign Assets Control Manual for Customs Personnel and Regulations;
Department of State International Traffic in Arms Manual; National Firearms Act; Department of Commerce Foreign Excess Property Manual, etc.;
(k) Customs Information Exchange Circulars;
(l) Currency quotations of the Federal Reserve Board and the Secretary of the Treasury;
(m) Trade agreements;
(n) Listings of prohibited, restricted, quota, and other special categories of merchandise;
(o) Technical books and manuals;
(p) Encyclopedias;
(q) Foreign dictionaries.

Positions of import liquidators require the use of all of these, to a greater or lesser extent, and in addition,

(a) Weighing and gauging manuals;
(b) Reports of laboratory analyses;
(c) Reports of appraising officers;
(d) Liquidators' Manual.

Drawback liquidators use all of the basic guides and all of the specialized import liquidating guides, to a greater or lesser extent, and in addition,

(a) Drawback provisions of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended;
(b) Related laws and regulations;
(c) Manufacturers' affidavits;
(d) Reports of investigations of customs agents;
(e) Bureau authorities setting forth manufacturing processes and bases for determining drawback;
(f) Technical information furnished by manufacturers and exporters.

Protest reviewers use all of the basic guides and all of the import and draw back liquidating guides, to a greater or lesser extent, and, in addition,

(a) Specialized protest provisions of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended;
(b) Related laws and regulations;
(c) Specialized trade and technical information furnished by importers, manufacturers, and research organizations.

All liquidators in the series (with the exception of those occupying trainee positions) have essentially the same nature, scope, and degree of authority and responsibility for decisions and conclusions. The difficulty and complexity of decisions involved in the exercise of this authority and responsibility, however, vary among the positions at different grade levels in relation to the technical determinations required by the nature and complexity of the liquidation problems encountered. The liquidator's decisions and conclusions concerning the determination of dutiable value, statutory classification, and amount of duties and taxes due are considered tantamount to final action. The liquidator serves basically as a specialist and is fully accountable for the technical decisions he makes in his assigned area of responsibility. A small percentage of import and drawback liquidations is subject to review and verification on a selective basis by random and judgment samples by liquidators in the office of the comptroller of customs in the respective districts. Cases in which agreements are not attained between the offices of the collector and the comptroller are referred to the Bureau level for decision. Decisions concerning the classification of merchandise also are reviewed in the office of the comptroller; however, it is necessary that the comptroller, collector, and the appraiser all agree on the classification of the merchandise, or the entries must be referred to the Bureau level for decision.

The import liquidator uses his trained judgment, ingenuity, and analytical ability in making his decisions and determinations. These qualities are required particularly in deciding whether all facts necessary to establish the identity and dutiable value of merchandise are available; in determining whether facts and circumstances indicate fraudulent intent or evasion of laws; in statutorily classifying merchandise when two or more conflicting paragraphs of the Tariff Act of 1930. as amended, seem to apply, or when fine distinctions must be made between paragraphs or between portions of the same paragraph; and in interpreting pro visions of law and regulations and principles embodied therein, to determine their proper application to liquidation problems caused by such factors as constantly changing economic conditions and trade practices, negotiation and termination of trade agreements, currency manipulations and exchange controls, changes in composition of commodities and methods of manufacture, and importation of commodities not previously manufactured.

Failure to interpret and apply pertinent laws properly would result in inequities to the importing public and domestic producers, and loss or over-collections of revenue with resultant adverse effects.

Opinions are frequently given by entry officers and liquidators to importers, brokers, and to the importing public in advance of entry of merchandise, concerning classification of merchandise, rates of duty, determination of duty, dutiable charges, etc.; such opinions, however, are not binding upon the collector. Opinions furnished concerning procedural requirements, general regulations, and similar matters, not dependent upon the specific identity of particular merchandise, are usually binding unless the regulations, statutes, procedures, etc. upon which such opinions are based are changed in the interim.

Customs Liquidator, GS-1894-05

Duties

Work assignments at this level are designed to train the incumbents in the application of fundamentals of liquidating techniques; to orient employees in the policies, regulations, and practices of the Bureau; to facilitate the acquisition of a working knowledge of the guidelines and methods used in determining statutory classification; to familiarize employees with the various entry forms, invoices, and reports of appraising officers, inspectors, and warehouse officers; and to facilitate evaluation of competency, potential aptitude, and interests of the employee to provide a basis for more responsible assignments.

The work includes the following: works with a liquidator in higher grade and observes him in the liquidation of formal entries; in the less complex cases, studies entry forms, invoices, entry permits, and reports of other customs officers and extracts pertinent information for use of the liquidator in higher grade; makes conversion of foreign weights and measures to United States units and conversion of foreign currency to United States currency; searches for and assembles pertinent information from entry and classification records, office files and records for use in making liquidation determinations and in preparing required reports.

Nature of supervisory control exercised over the work:

Incumbents are under close technical and administrative control of a customs liquidator in higher grade who makes work assignments, furnishes detailed information, and gives specific instructions. In the early period of training, the work is closely reviewed for completeness, technical accuracy, adherence to sound liquidation practices, and conformance to instructions. As the incumbent demonstrates increased competence, supervision becomes less intensive and review may be more often on a spot-check basis.

Nature of available guidelines:

Incumbents are engaged in becoming familiar with guidelines and reference sources applicable to work of the positions. Some judgment is applied in recognizing situations for which usual methods are not appropriate and for which reference to the supervisor is necessary.

Nature and purpose of personal work contacts:

Contacts with others are rare and limited to factual matters.

Nature and scope of conclusions and decisions:

There is no responsibility for independent conclusions and decisions at this level. Incumbent discusses all problems with his supervisor and is expected to be of practical assistance to him after an initial indoctrination period.

Qualifications statement:
Knowledge, abilities, and other qualities:
Ability to acquire readily a general knowledge of basic liquidation principles, laws, regulations, and procedures; aptitude for more difficult and responsible customs liquidating work; ability to analyze and condense material and adequately present it orally or in writing; personal traits such as alertness, cooperativeness, reliability, work accuracy, tact, resourcefulness, and judgment.

Customs Liquidator, GS-1894-07

Duties

Liquidators GS-7 receive training on assignments which typically represent a limited part or phase of broader assignments for which a liquidator in higher grade is responsible. Assignments are usually screened to determine that more difficult areas or unusual problems will not be encountered. Liquidators are required to be familiar with and to employ a number of individual standard liquidation principles, techniques, and processes, so that they can carry out an assignment through a series of related detailed steps. Incumbent's assignments may include the entire liquidating process on "one-line" entries which present no unusual problems.

The following duties are typical but not all-inclusive: accounts for all the merchandise entered and the quantities, weights, and values on which duty is assessable, by examining entry forms, invoices, entry permits, reports of inspectors, and bills of lading; verifies the correctness of the dutiable and non-dutiable charges as entered by the importer or his agent and reported by the appraising officer; converts foreign weights and measures to United States units and converts foreign currency to United States currency at the prevailing rates of exchange; computes the total dutiable value by applying discounts, charges, applicable taxes, commissions, and expenses, and by checking adjustments from unit values of dutiable charges; and derives the final duty assessable by applying the appropriate rate.

Nature of supervisory control exercised over the work:

Incumbent receives instruction from his supervisor in methods and techniques of establishing statutory classification and making liquidation determinations; and in applicable laws, regulations, and precedents. His completed work, including classification decisions and determination of total duties and applicable taxes, is carefully reviewed for accuracy, thoroughness, and correctness of conclusions. Responsibility for substantive decisions is assumed by the super visor.

Nature of available guidelines:

Guides used in the performance of the work are described under General Criteria in the Explanatory Statement. Such guides are supplemented by specific instructions from liquidators in higher grade as to their application or interpretation.

Nature and purpose of personal work contacts:

Incumbent has limited contacts with importers, brokers, and with representatives of other Government agencies to request or furnish information and to explain customs requirements.

Nature and scope of conclusions and decisions:

Within the limitations and guidelines, the liquidator GS-7 applies some judgment and discretion, to the solution of the liquidation problems. Collection of the proper amount of Customs duties or applicable internal revenue taxes on the type of entry assigned rests to a large extent upon the responsibility of the incumbent in correctly interpreting the documents and determining the amount of duties and taxes due.

Qualifications statement:
knowledge, abilities, and other qualities:
Knowledge of the principal provisions of law, regulations, decisions, principles, policies, procedures, and practices which relate to statutory classification decisions and determination of duties and taxes due; familiarity with sources of information concerning other related provisions of law, regulations, decisions, principles, procedures and practices; familiarity with overall Customs clearance procedure; ability to assemble, analyze, and present oral or written information clearly; ability to observe and comprehend the significance of irregularities in documents indicating possible violations of law and regulations; cooperativeness, judgment, tact, initiative, and reliability; aptitude for more difficult and responsible customs liquidating work.

Customs Liquidator, GS-1894-11

Duties

At this level two work situations exist:

Situation A:

Positions are located at the headquarters ports of districts where, because of the districts' strategic geographical locations, a great variety of importations is received from many countries and from numerous sources (manufacturers, producers, and sellers) within those countries, and large industrial and commercial areas are served as import gateways. (Positions in this class are also located in the offices of the comptrollers of customs in whose comptroller districts the headquarters ports as described above are situated.)

At the GS-11 level (1) imports are regularly received from at least several highly industrialized producing countries; (2) many of the countries from which imports are received have continuing fluctuations in currency, multiple currencies, or involved changes in tax structures; (3) imports are received from a large number of sources (manufacturers, producers, or sellers) within those countries; and (4) an extensive variety of merchandise, items, grades, and qualities is dealt with. The work is characterized by the frequent occurrence of complex problems requiring extensive application of various liquidation principles and techniques to new situations and the development of new technical knowledge.

However, the difficulty and complexity of GS-11 positions are not as great as those at the GS-12 level because the problems encountered requiring the application of various liquidation principles and techniques are less complex and occur less frequently than do those at the GS-12 level.

Situation B:

Positions are located at the headquarters port of a district where the greatest variety and volume of importations are regularly received from most of the exporting countries of the world and from the great majority of sources (manufacturers, producers, and sellers) within those countries. The port serves as the import gateway for the entire nation.

By comparison with the GS-12 level, there is a difference in the degree of reliance placed upon the work of the GS-11 liquidator in this situation, reflected by the following: (1) a liquidator GS-11 confers frequently with his supervisor or with a liquidator in higher grade on difficult or novel problems of legal application and interpretation pertaining to appropriate applicable principles and liquidating techniques and concerning determination of dutiable value, statutory classification, and amount of duties and taxes due, and (2) the conclusions and decisions of the liquidator GS-11 involving recommended changes in classification or actions resulting in substantial increases or refunds or other unusual actions, are reviewed by his supervisor and may be referred to another liquidator in higher grade for additional study and review.

Nature of supervisory control exercised over the work:

The liquidator GS-11 in both situations works under a supervisory liquidator. In positions described in Situation A, the degree of supervision is comparable to that described for the GS-12 level.

In positions described in Situation B, the supervision is closer. Because of the more complex nature of the assigned entries and the higher incidence of difficult problems as compared with the liquidator GS-11 in Situation A, the decisions concerning dutiable value and statutory classification involving the more complicated liquidation determinations are reviewed by the supervisor or may be referred to another liquidator in higher grade for additional study and review. Noncontroversial matters are subject only to cursory review.

Nature of available guidelines:

In both situations A and B, the basic guides are those described under General Criteria in the Explanatory Statement.

In Situation A, the work requires that the guides be interpreted in relation to diverse problems arising continually in all phases of the liquidation process, and particularly with respect to the statutory classification of merchandise.

In positions described in Situation B, the liquidator is required to confer more frequently with his supervisor concerning the interpretation and application of these guidelines.

Nature and purpose of personal work contacts:

In both situations A and B, work relationships are maintained with importers, brokers, and others to secure additional information concerning entries or samples; to explain legal requirements governing the importation of merchandise; and occasionally to resolve differences of opinion concerning dutiable value, statutory classification, and assessed duties or taxes.

In Situation B, however, work contacts are neither as frequent nor as extensive as in positions in Situation A.

Nature and scope of conclusions and decisions:

In Situation A, the authority and responsibility for conclusions and decisions are described under General Criteria in the Explanatory Statement. The liquidation of the assigned entries is the only liquidation made, and the accuracy of the incumbent's decisions governs the amount of duty and taxes to be assessed. His consideration of factual matters, records, reports of other customs officers, etc., his interviews with importers and others, his review of the law and applicable precedents and his conclusions therefrom, except in unusual cases, are the deciding factors in his final determinations.

In Situation B, the conclusions and decisions, for the most part, are accepted as final. However, because of the high incidence of the more complex liquidation problems, occasioned by the extensive variation in items, grades, qualities, and sources, the liquidator GS-11 in Situation B is required to confer more frequently with his supervisor or with liquidators in higher grade.

Qualifications statement:

The liquidator GS-11, Situation A, must have the following knowledge, abilities, skills, and other qualities, in addition to those described for liquidators in the Explanatory Statement:

(1) Thorough knowledge of the provisions of the Tariff Act, regulations and rulings under the Act, Treasury Decisions, decisions of the Customs Courts, applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, and pertinent regulations of other Government agencies, which are most frequently applied to the work and to the extensive varieties of merchandise typically involved;

(2) Very good knowledge of all other provisions of laws and regulations and of all other administrative and court decisions relating to the work, with particular application of these to the extensive varieties of imports received;

(3) Ability to exercise independent judgment in solving problems of moderate technical difficulty in the liquidation of import entries.

The liquidator GS-11, Situation B, must have knowledge, abilities, skills, and other qualities similar to those described for import liquidators at the GS-12 level, except that in the application of these the liquidator GS-11 has less independence of action and decision.

Customs Liquidator (Drawback), GS-1894-12

Duties

These positions are located at the headquarters port of a district where the greatest variety and volume of importations are regularly received from most of the exporting countries of the world and from the great majority of sources (manufacturers, producers, and sellers) within those countries. The port serves as the import gateway for the entire nation.

Custom Liquidator, GS-12:

Basic duties of positions of liquidators GS-12 are described in Part 11 (Import Liquidating) in the Explanatory Statement. The incumbent is responsible for the determination of the dutiable value, the statutory classification of merchandise, and the determination of duties and taxes due, involved in the most difficult dutiable-consumption entries, conditionally-free entries, warehouse entries, rewarehouse entries, temporary-importation bond entries, permanent-exhibition entries, sea-store entries, and foreign trade-zone entries. Other determinations involving entries of unique character or special complexity include entries of manipulated merchandise, repairs to carriers, and reliquidations to carry out decisions of Customs Courts resulting from reappraisement or protests.

At the GS-12 level. (1) imports are regularly received from practically all of the highly industrialized producing countries; (2) the great majority of the countries from which imports are received have continuing fluctuations in currency, multiple currencies, or involved changes in tax structures; (3) imports are received from a very large number of sources (manufacturers, producers, or sellers) within those countries; and (4) a very extensive variety of merchandise, items, grades, and qualities is dealt with.

The work of a GS-12 liquidator is characterized by the constant occurrence of highly complex import liquidating problems requiring extensive application of various import liquidation principles to new and unusual situations and the development of new technical knowledge.

Customs Liquidator (Drawback) GS-12:

Basic duties are described in Part II (Drawback Liquidating) in the Explanatory Statement. The work at this level is characterized by the constant occurrence of highly complex problems requiring extensive application of various drawback liquidation principles to new and unusual situations. The incumbent ascertains compliance with all pertinent laws and regulations, and, in accordance with the strictest technical rules, determines the amount of drawback to be paid the claimant. These complex drawback liquidations cover (1) articles manufactured or produced with the use of imported duty-paid and/or tax-paid merchandise; (2) flavoring extracts and medicinal or toilet preparations manufactured or produced with the use of domestic tax-paid alcohol; (3) articles manufactured or produced with the use of specific duty-free or domestic merchandise for which duty-paid or tax-paid merchandise of the same kind and quality is designated; (4) duty-paid merchandise exported from continuous customs custody; and (5) exportations of duty-paid merchandise rejected by the importer. In the course of his determinations the drawback liquidator repeats the same procedure followed by the import liquidator in arriving at his initial liquidation, and, in addition, allocates those dutiable and non-dutiable general and particular charges applicable to the specific merchandise being transferred to a drawback account.

Nature of supervisory control exercised over the work:

Both import and drawback liquidators GS-12 work under a supervisory liquidator. One of the main criteria of the GS-12 level in both types of positions is the virtual independence of technical action taken. The liquidator in each case is held fully accountable for decisions within his assigned area of responsibility (except for the relatively few cases which he recognizes from time to time as being so unusual or so far-reaching as to warrant bringing them to the attention of the supervisor.) The decisions made by the incumbents are virtually tantamount to final action since the supervisory liquidator relies fully upon their technical competence and independent decisions. The supervisor issues instructions and furnishes advice on the most difficult and novel problems; reviews re ports and issues instructions for the disposition of differences of opinion with other liquidators or with the office of the appraiser in matters concerning appropriate classification of merchandise; and provides instructions and guidance when statutes, regulations, procedures, etc., are changed.

Nature of available guidelines:

The work of the import liquidator GS-12 is governed by the guides described under General Criteria in the Explanatory Statement. Other guides used include information obtained from importers, domestic manufacturers, and trade experts on specific transactions, and on identity, composition, construction, use, and manufacturing methods. The written guides are extremely numerous; in particular, there are many thousands of court decisions and administrative rules which require interpretation and application.

A drawback liquidator GS-12 uses essentially the same guides as those described for the import liquidator at this level. In addition, the drawback liquidator uses manufacturers' sworn statements of processing of imported commodities; reports of customs agents on investigations of manufacturing processes; Bureau authorizations setting forth manufacturing processes and the bases for determination of drawback; and, in some instances, technical information furnished by manufacturers and exporters.

Nature and purpose of personal work contacts:

An import liquidator GS-12 in the office of the collector (and occasionally the import liquidator in the office of the comptroller) deals directly with importers, brokers, and other representatives of importers to secure needed additional in formation, explain legal requirements governing importations of merchandise, and settle differences of opinions with them, principally with respect to the classification of merchandise, dutiable value, allowances for shortages, etc.

A drawback liquidator GS-12 in the office of the collector (and occasionally the drawback liquidator in the office of the comptroller) has personal contacts with exporters, brokers, manufacturers, or other claimants of drawback, to explain discrepancies and errors, secure clarification or correction of documents as well as necessary additional documents, and explain requirements of laws and regulations. Because of the complexity of the drawback laws and regulations, considerable persuasion and resourcefulness are sometimes required in convincing claimants that there has been failure on their part to comply with legal requirements and that further action by them is necessary.

Nature and scope of conclusions and decisions:

The authority and responsibility of the import liquidator and the drawback liquidator are described under General Criteria in the Explanatory Statement. Conclusions reached and decisions made by the import liquidator GS-12 often determine whether imported products can be profitably sold in the United States market, and thus affect the economic status of foreign countries and important segments of industry in this country. Conclusions and decisions of the drawback liquidator GS-12 frequently determine whether products manufactured in the United States from imported materials can profitably be exported, and thus similarly affect the economic status of foreign countries and important segments of industry in this country.

Qualifications statement:

Customs Liquidator GS-12: The customs liquidator GS-12 must have the following knowledge, abilities, skills, and other qualities, in addition to those described for import liquidators in the Explanatory Statement:

(1) Thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the provisions of the Tariff Act, regulations and rulings under the Act, Treasury Decisions, decisions of the Customs Courts, applicable provisions of the internal Revenue Code, and pertinent regulations of other Government agencies, which are most frequently applied to the work and to the very extensive varieties of merchandise typically involved;
(2) Thorough knowledge of all other provisions of laws and regulations and of all other administrative and court decisions relating to the work, with particular application of these to the very extensive varieties of imports received;
(3) Ability to exercise independent judgment in solving highly complex technical problems in the liquidation of import entries.

Customs Liquidator (Drawback) GS-12: The liquidator (drawback) GS-12 must have the following knowledge, abilities, skills, and other qualities, in addition to those described above for the customs liquidator GS-12:

(1) Specialized knowledge of drawback provisions of laws, rulings, regulations and decisions;
(2) Good knowledge of related export laws, rulings, regulations, and decisions;
(3) Good knowledge of manufacturing processes employed in the production of commodities involved in highly complex drawback entries.

Customs Liquidator (Protest Reviewer), GS-1894-13

Duties

This is the top level of nonsupervisory liquidating work. Positions are located at the headquarters port of the district where the greatest variety and volume of importations are regularly received from most of the exporting countries of the world and from the great majority of sources (manufacturers, producers, and sellers) within those countries. The port serves as the import gateway for the entire nation.

Protest reviewers GS-13 are responsible for the final administrative analysis and disposition of claims made by importers and their representatives against collectors' decisions. Basic duties are described in Part II (Protest Review) in the Explanatory Statement.

Nature of supervisory control exercised over the work:

The incumbent works under the general supervision of a liquidator in higher grade. He receives no special instructions and is individually responsible for final results. He discusses with his supervisor only the most unusual, novel, or complex problems. His ''master" reports and special reports are reviewed to insure propriety of application of governing guidelines and validity of reasoning and conclusions; such review, however, is of a general nature.

Nature of available guidelines:

The incumbent's work is governed by the same guides as those described under General Criteria in the Explanatory Statement. The work requires extensive research into precedent decisions and the interpretation and application of such precedents and legal principles to a wide variety of problems relating to issues presented in protests.

Nature and purpose of personal work contacts:

The protest reviewer GS-13 has person-to-person work relationships with importers and their attorneys, brokers, trade experts, and technical authorities; and with United States Attorneys in litigated cases. These relationships require the exercise of exceptional tact, ingenuity, and resourcefulness in persuading importers and others to supply needed information. and at the same time in avoiding the revelation or impairment of the Government's case; in attempting to resolve differences of opinion concerning classification, administrative, or procedural matters; in explaining to protestants the privileges granted and the burdens imposed by the protest statutes and regulations; and in assisting in the development and presentation of court cases.

Nature and scope of conclusions and decisions:

The work of the protest reviewer provides expeditious settlement of protest claims and represents the final step in the administrative review of protests by the office of the collector. Protest reviews must be accomplished within strict statutory time limitations. The validation of protests reduces litigation before the Customs Court and prevents unnecessary expense to the Government and to the protestants. The failure to validate sound protests prolongs proceedings unnecessarily and causes unwarranted burdens for all concerned. (Protests which are denied by the protest reviewer are transmitted promptly to the Customs Court for adjudication, thus affording protestants an early start of judicial process.)

Many of the protests transmitted to the Court are covered by "master reports" which cover a group of protests on similar issues, and which enable the collector to support his decisions and actions by reference to one comprehensive report. These "master reports" and other special memoranda serve as a positive basis for and against protests developed for legal action by the United States Attorney. Authoritative advice on form, procedure, documents, proof, and related matters which the protest reviewer furnishes to importers, brokers, and attorneys, insures protestants against denial of protest claim by the collector or possible dismissal of protests by the Court for purely procedural reasons.

Qualifications statement:

The customs liquidator (protest review) GS-13 must have the following knowledge, abilities, skills, and other qualities, in addition to those described for import and drawback liquidators in the Explanatory Statement:

(1) Expert specialized knowledge of the provisions of the Tariff Act, regulations and ratings under the Act, Treasury Decisions, decisions of the Customs Courts, applicable provisions of the internal Revenue Code, and pertinent regulations of other Government agencies, which are most frequently applied to the work and to the exceptional varieties of merchandise typically involved;
(2) Comprehensive knowledge of all other provisions of laws and regulations and of all other administrative and court decisions relating to the work, with particular application of these to the exceptional varieties of merchandise involved;
(3) Ability to exercise independent judgment in solving unusually complex technical problems in the liquidation of import and drawback entries;
(4) Exceptional ability to recognize issues of potential controversy in protest cases and to anticipate lines of argument that will be used by protestants;
(5) Ability to write clear and comprehensive reports setting forth logically the pertinent facts, applicable precedents, and positions taken in protest cases.

Individual Occupational Requirements

Background Security Investigation:If you have not already done so, you will need to successfully complete a background investigation before you can be appointed into this position.

Drug Testing: You must submit to a drug test and receive a negative drug test result before you can be appointed into this position.After appointment, you will be subject to random drug testing for illegal drug use.

Training: You will be required to attend 2 1/2 weeks of paid training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. This technical training must be successfully completed according to the standards of the agency. Failure to do so will be grounds for mandatory removal from the position. Such failure will result in either reassignment to a different position, demotion, or separation by appropriate procedures

Information on obtaining Customs Liquidator positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at http://www.usajobs.gov or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.

Source: OPM's Position Classification Standards for White Collar Work


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