3.7 Customs Clearance – Import Duty – Duty-Free Entry (02/01)


<< Back

3.7.1 Customs Clearance and Import Duty

a. Ordinarily, the Institute is responsible for the payment of duty imposed on materials or equipment purchased from companies located outside the United States.

b. The amount of duty is determined by U.S. Customs officials from the Tariff Schedule of the United States. The amount of duty is determined after the goods have been delivered to Customs at the port of entry, which is usually Boston for shipments consigned to MIT. Following the arrival of the shipment at the port of entry:

(1) The carrier of the shipment will generally call the person to whom the delivery is to be made or the Buying Agent to determine which customs broker will handle customs clearance matters. Such calls to persons other than the Buying Agent should be referred to the Buying Agent.

(2) The customs broker specified by the Buying Agent will ascertain the amount of duty, the carrier charges, the broker's fee for arranging customs clearance, and will contact the Buying Agent to obtain purchase order authorization to clear the shipment through Customs for the total amount required.

(3) The Buying Agent will notify the department/laboratory and obtain a requisition so that a purchase order may be issued to the broker expeditiously (initially, by telephone). Time is important since any goods not cleared in five (5) days will be placed in storage by Customs officials and the Institute will be responsible for a minimum of one month's storage costs.

3.7.2 Duty-Free Entry of Scientific Instruments and Apparatus

a. Federal regulations provide for the duty-free entry of scientific instruments for use by a nonprofit institution established for educational or scientific purposes. This exemption applies if no instrument of equivalent scientific value, which will perform the intended purpose, is manufactured in the United States.

b. When a requisition is submitted for the purchase of such an instrument, the requisitioner will obtain from the Buying Agent copies of Federal Form ITA-338P, Request for Duty-Free Entry of Scientific Instruments or Apparatus (is available through the Procurement Headquarters). Seven (7) copies of this form and the attachments specified (including two signed originals) should be completed and submitted to the Buying Agent. The Buying Agent will complete block 12 of the form by typing in the name and title of the Director of Procurement, and by checking the block below to provide for all correspondence to be addressed to the Director of Procurement. A photocopy of the purchase order should be attached to each copy of the form.

c. Seven copies of the form will be sent to the U.S. Customs Service, which will assign a docket number and forward the copies to the Department of Commerce, returning one set, on which the docket number assigned is indicated, to the Buying Agent.

d. The Buying Agent will send a copy of the form listing the docket number and the purchase order number to the Seller (if the Seller has an office in the United States which will import the instrument) or to the customs broker, if the Institute is purchasing directly from a foreign company. This form will be presented by the Seller or the customs broker to Customs officials so that duty may be deferred at the time of entry of the instrument pending completion of the processing of the request for duty-free entry, and so that the instrument may be delivered to MIT without delay.

e. When the eventual approval or disapproval of the request for duty-free entry is received by the Buying Agent from the Customs Service, a copy of the decision will be provided to the Seller or customs broker, as the case may be, for delivery to Customs at the port of entry. At this point, (1) if the request has been approved, duty-free entry will be allowed, or (2) if the request has been disapproved, arrangements for payment of the duty by MIT will be made.