Understanding Census Errors
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By: Team Krypt - April 24th, 2014

Common Census Errors and/or Reject Causes

An all too common frustration comes at a price. Yes, a Census error or reject can and does typically whittle away at a broker’s or filer’s profit where the cost of performing an entry is concerned. Most frustrating is they’re often human errors that cause them. The process to correct an Import in the current ABI environment is much more of an involved process. As with Trade Exports, it may be resolved with a resubmission of data, the legwork on that front is far less than imports. ACE coming online soon enough, this process will change again, said to be more user friendly and electronically corrected, the expense to correct, I personally don’t see it going anywhere.

We’re going to look at this particular subject in segments, from identifying the different causes for census errors and rejects, to life cycle, to the ever popular expense to correct, (what is this really costing you as a broker or filer), to potential elimination OR validation of them, not to forget a possible cure for your valid census error.

The US Census department has designated a systematic framework around most commodities, the transportation to get them here and their transactions. Most are designated by High or Lows while others are altogether improbable.

This framework consists of multiple “triggers” (we’ll call them) that set an entry up for being Rejected or otherwise placed in error status. Meaning, within seconds of your transmission of that entry, it’s already got a red flag on it because it triggered one of the Census Department’s areas of focus.

Think of it as a game of hot and cold, but in this version you need to steer clear of both if at all possible; the goal is to stay in the cozy ambient middle. Understand though, sometimes you do encounter legitimate Census Errors and you cannot avoid it, but you may have options.

Census Errors


Improbable Country – Commodity is unlikely to be manufactured in the country reported on an entry

Improbable Quantity – Triggered by an unlikely Reported Quantity (RQ) on a Tariff

Improbable Quantity One to Quantity Two Ratios (& Vice Versa) – Tariff requires two Reporting Quantities (RQ), such as KG and Pcs, and the ratio between the two is statistically factored and determined to be too high or too low.

Improbably Gross Weight by method of Transit (Vessel or Air) – Reported Gross Weight for your Line Item, or entire shipment, narrowed by method of transit, Air or Vessel/Ocean.

Improbable Statistical Freight Charges (“STAT”) – Reported Freight Charge is unlikely for your shipment, also narrowed by mode of transport, but not segregated as with the Gross Weight Scenario by error message. As of now, and with my experience this is typically triggered by the too high scenario… that may change in the future, just to keep you on your toes.

Improbable Value – Triggered by the Valuation of a Line or multiple Lines on an entry, it either too high or too low. Reported Quantity (RQ) is typically a factor here as well, if you have one.

Causes of Census Errors

Most often the causes of these errors, or triggers, are due to human error and setting up the right kind of intervention, they can be eliminated with proper training and keen attention to one’s work when filing an entry. Getting to this point can be a source of frustration, but know there is light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll give you some ideas over the next few days to get you started.  I will say never, never, never falsify a number or value to correct the problem, no guessing or approximating without express permission from CBP or other authority either. That will only dig a hole you may not like or be able to dig yourself out of.

As for Validated Census Errors, this framework is typically used as part of the groundwork for potential ADD/CVD inquiries and cases. Often trending the valuation of commodities are honed in on by the USITC using statistics gathered to make sure everyone is playing nice in terms of international commerce, but that is another topic for another day.

Next time we’ll look at the Census Error’s Life Cycle, we hope to see more of you then.

Need help determining which to choose based on your specific needs? Or, Want to know more? Contact us at info@kryptinc.com to find out how Krypt, Inc. can help you be more compliant and get the most out of SAP GTS.

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