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What’s the Difference Between a Customs Release (CBP Form 3461) and a Customs Entry (CBP Form 7501)?

CBP Form 3461 is the document submitted electronically to U.S. Customs, where they either release the shipment or designate it for exam. CBP form 7501, the Customs Entry, is used to calculate duties and provide detailed information.

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We are often asked to compare the Customs Release (CBP Form 3461) vs the Customs Entry (CBP Form 7501). Here’s a quick breakdown to help clarify.

3461 – Customs Release – The document we initially submit electronically to Customs, unless they request hard copies of shipping documents to review the shipment. This form is intended to speed up the release of your goods. Customs signs off on your shipment, either releasing it or designating it for exam. After release, we have ten days to file the detailed and comprehensive Customs Entry (7501).

7501 – Customs Entry – This is the form used to calculate duties and provide detailed information to CBP. Your payment must follow with the form. We submit both forms and funds for your duty electronically, unless you’re set up for ACH payments directly with Customs, which is preferable.

To give an idea of their functions, you can think of the 3461 like your pay-stub giving a quick overview, while the 7501 is like a tax return outlining the duties due for your shipment. The difference is that you only submit your taxes once per year, whereas you must submit the 7501 for each and every shipment.

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