The JORI Shipper’s Guidebook Series: The Importer of Record


Let’s dive into a common misunderstanding: It’s common to think that a customs broker is the end-all solution, handling every aspect of customs compliance. This, however, is a misconception. The real accountability for accurate customs reporting falls on the importer, known as the ‘importer of record’.

When working with a customs broker, it’s crucial for any importer to make sure they’re both on the same page about playing by the rules. 

For example, picture this:

A company is importing an order of black coats. Simple, right? Not so fast. Getting the right Harmonized System (HS) code involves knowing details like the material and whether it’s end-use is for adults or children. 

Some brokers might ask for more info to make sure you’re tagging that coat with the correct HS code. Some would not ask that question and use an incorrect HS code. 


The term ‘importer of record’ refers to the person or company legally responsible for ensuring that imported goods comply with all customs regulations. This role is pivotal in guaranteeing adherence to customs laws and addressing any issues that arise during the import process.

At JORI, we pride ourselves on our hands on approach to customs compliance. Work closely with our import clients to understand their products and mitigate any customs compliance risks.

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