Under the Customs Modernization Act the burden to provide accurate information with respect to entries of merchandise has been placed primarily on the importer. The goal of Customs is to maximize voluntary compliance and minimize enforcement activity. The role of Customs under the act is called “informed compliance”. This is achieved by publishing regulations, rulings, and other publications to inform the public of its obligations under customs laws.

The importer’s obligation under the Act is called “ reasonable care”. This requires the importer to be familiar with the relevant provisions of the law, regulations, rulings, tariff schedules, and judicial and administrative decisions. Importers may demonstrate that they have exercised reasonable care by consulting with a customs expert or requesting binding rulings. Failure to exercise reasonable care constitutes negligence, and can subject the importer to substantial civil penalties.