TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP ASSAILS POSTAL AND CUSTOMS SERVICES FOR BILLION-DOLLAR DUTY DODGE | Citizens Against Government Waste

TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP ASSAILS POSTAL AND CUSTOMS SERVICES FOR BILLION-DOLLAR DUTY DODGE

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact:Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
February 29, 2000(202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) — Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), America's largest taxpayer watchdog group, today assailed the U.S. Customs Service for failing to collect up to $1.5 billion dollars annually in duties and fees on U.S. Postal Service (USPS) shipments.

“There's plenty of blame to go around here.  The Postal Service has failed to deliver for American taxpayers, and the Customs Service is looking the other way,” stated CAGW Senior Vice President Leslie Paige at a news conference in Washington.  “Customs is allowing USPS to dodge more than a billion dollars in duties and it's costing taxpayers money.”

Paige cited a study, released today by the Air Courier Conference of America (ACCA) and conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide, showing that the vast majority of USPS express shipments coming into the U.S. fail to be properly processed and assessed by Customs.  The study finds that only six percent of USPS shipments are being properly administered in accordance with statutory responsibilities.  The independent study also points out that, even when Customs does properly process USPS shipments, it collects much smaller amounts in duties and fees than for comparable shipments by private carriers.  According to the Wirthlin analysis, between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion in USPS duties and fees is left uncollected by Customs each year.

“The Customs Service is the second largest source of revenue for the federal government.  Every dime they miss has to be squeezed from American taxpayers,” Paige continued.  “Customs owes taxpayers an explanation and Congress should exercise its oversight authority for both of these agencies to end this give-away to the Postal Service. ”

Paige cited a 1998 study prepared by the Customs Service showing that USPS was being compelled to comply with only two out of the 11 reviewed Customs regulations that private carriers must abide by.  “The federal government should not be playing favorites and providing unauthorized subsidies to the monopolistic Postal Service by selectively choosing to look the other way during Customs processing,” Paige concluded.

CAGW is a 600,000 member nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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