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Submitting a Voluntary Self-Disclosure to the U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division

The Census Bureau strongly encourages companies, without prompting from Federal agencies, to voluntarily and promptly disclose, and expeditiously correct all violations or potential violations of Title 15, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 30, the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR).  The Census Bureau recommends that Voluntary Self-Disclosures (VSD) be made for violations or potential violations going back at least five years.  A VSD reflects due diligence by a USPPI or authorized agent in detecting, and correcting potential violations when required information was not reported or when incorrect information was provided that violates the regulations. The VSD must be identified and submitted before the Census Bureau or another export enforcement Federal government agency identifies the problem.

Voluntary Self-Disclosures are made for potential violations of electronic export information submission and/or inadvertent recurring non-compliance errors of the regulations.  Potential violations or non-compliant practices that are recurring over an extended period of time also should be submitted via a self-disclosure.  For example, over a six-month period during 2008, electronic export information is not filed for numerous shipments (i.e., 10, 25, 50, 100, etc.) will constitute the need to file a voluntary self-disclosure as soon as the failure to file is discovered.  Another example, is the consistent use of the wrong Employer Identification Number (EIN) for numerous shipments and/or over an extended period of time (i.e., 2, 3, 6, 9, months, etc.).  If the shipment is licensed goods and a potential violation or non-compliant practiced occurs, a self-disclosure may be made regardless of the number of transactions or the time frame involved.  Whether or not the non-compliant practice or violation is systematic (recurring), the volume of shipments involved, licensed goods, non-responsiveness to fatal errors, and late filing timeframes should be taken into consideration when determining whether or not to make a disclosure.  Please refer to Section 30.74 of the FTR for regulatory requirements on voluntary self-disclosures.

Procedures for submitting a Voluntary Self-Disclosure to the Census Bureau are as follows:

    1. Must be in writing, on company letterhead, and addressed to:

      Mr. William G. Bostic, Jr.
      Chief, Foreign Trade Division
      U.S. Census Bureau
      4600 Silver Hill Road, Room 6K032
      Washington, DC 20233-6700

    2. The letter should include the following information:

      1. The name of the person making the disclosure and contact information: address, telephone number, and email address, if applicable.

      2. A description of the violation(s) or suspected violation(s) including the nature and extent of the violation(s).

      3. An explanation of when and how the violation occurred.

      4. A description of all FTR-mandated information that was either unreported or reported incorrectly.

      5. The complete identities and addresses of all individuals and organizations, whether foreign or domestic, involved in the activities associated with the violation(s).

      6. A description of corrective measures applied to resolve the violation(s) that occurred and steps taken to prevent a recurrence of the violation(s).

      7. A description of any mitigating circumstances that should be considered.

    3. Once a VSD is submitted, a staff person in the Regulations, Outreach, and Education Branch, Foreign Trade Division, will communicate with the point of contact listed in the disclosure document to determine actions to be taken.


    1. Disclosures should be made of suspected violations that involve export of items controlled, licensed, or otherwise subject to export control or enforcement jurisdiction by a department or agency of the federal government. These disclosures should be made to the appropriate federal department or agency, in addition to the VSD required by the Census Bureau.

    2. All VSDs will be forwarded to the appropriate agency.

    3. Information known to be true at the time of export must be reported or an estimate provided.  Should such information change after the export of the commodity, a correction must be made to the record filed.  Corrections to an AES record can be made up to five years from the date of export.  In order for corrected information to be included in a specific statistical year, corrections can be made on a 15-month sliding scale basis from the date of export.  That means any shipment filed from January of a statistical year through December of that same year should be corrected until  March 1 of the following year.  For example, records submitted        January 2008 through December 2008, may be corrected until           March 2009.  Corrections, without the necessity to make a VSD, may be made for changes or errors on a small number of records (i.e., 1, 5, 10).  Additionally, failure to file export information on the shipment of goods prior to export may be entered in the AES on the 15-month sliding scale for a small number of shipments.  Failure to file electronic export information before the end of the 15-month sliding scale will constitute the need for a VSD.  Please refer to the FTR, Section 30.9 for corrections to the Automated Export Systems record.  A VSD should not be used to report a routine correction to a record. 

    4. Questions regarding when a voluntary self-disclosure should be made or a correction for a specific transaction(s), please contact the Regulations, Outreach, and Education Branch on (800) 549-0595.

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Source: FTDWebMaster, Foreign Trade Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, D.C. 20233
Created: 30 May 2008
Last modified: 11 March 2015 at 05:19:19 PM