Power of Attorney (POA)
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf. In the shipping industry, this means appointing a customs broker to clear your shipments through customs on your behalf.
While you may be comfortable handling some aspects of the shipping process yourself, dealing with customs can be complex and time-consuming. A POA allows you to delegate this task to someone you trust, so you can focus on other parts of your business.
A POA is needed in order to clear your goods through US Customs. The involved parties must complete all the formalities of the POA before the consignment is shipped. This will ensure that the appointed agent is the sole point of contact for all the communication-related aspects to documentation and filing.
There are many situations where a POA may be needed. For example, if you are delegating responsibility to another party, a signed POA is mandatory. With the help of this document, the customs broker has the power to clear your shipment through the customs authorities.
If you are considering using a POA, it is important to understand the implications and potential risks involved. Be sure to consult with an attorney or other legal professional to ensure that everything is done properly.
Why is a POA Important?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that authorizes a third party to act on your behalf. In the shipping industry, POAs are used to allow customs brokers to clear shipments by complying with established procedures. However, the applications for POAs extend beyond customs brokerage to contexts such as personal finance and medical emergencies.
In shipping, an importer may use the services of a customs broker to clear goods. The customs broker can be authorized to act on the importer’s behalf through a POA, regardless of whether the importer is resident or non-resident, an individual entity, or a business. When an importer decides to work with a customs broker for importing goods into the US, the importer must give the agent a POA to authorize and act on the importer’s behalf.
Once a POA is established, the customs broker can:
- Endorse, sign, or declare requests for delivery, entry, or withdrawal of goods
- Process any declaration, certificate, protest, bill of lading, or affidavit
- Collect drawback and duty refunds
- Act as a grantor of any bond required for importing
If you find yourself in a situation where you need someone to act on your behalf, consider establishing a Power of Attorney. It’s a simple document with the potential to save you a lot of hassle down the road.
Contents of a POA
POAs generally include the following information: the name and address of the importer or exporter, the IRS number of the importer’s business, a declaration that the nominated forwarder can act on behalf of the importer, and the signature of the importer or exporter.
It’s important to note that the POA holder does not operate as a contract between parties. Rather, they are simply given legal powers by one
Who signs the POA?
A senior and responsible officer of the company involved in the manufacturing of the shipment is allowed to sign the POA. In short, the POA can be signed by only the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, or those with equivalent titles and roles like the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer that may substitute as the authorized person.
However, sometimes, the authority to sign a POA also depends on the company’s hierarchical structure and can vary from an individual, corporation, LLC, etc. For instance, according to the laws established, a POA issued by the European Union-based companies importing into the US must have a secondary witness signature from another officer in the company.
How to get a POA
As an importer, you may decide that you would like to appoint a Power of Attorney (POA) to handle your shipments. This is not difficult to do, and any reputable freight forwarder or customs broker can explain the process to you.
There are a few things that you will need in order to appoint a POA for your U.S.-bound imports:
- An IRS, social security, or importer ID number
- The full name of the grantor, as well as the name under which the business is registered
- The jurisdiction in which the company operates
- An authorized signature
It is important to note that the POA document must be signed by an officer of the company making the shipment. This is because not everyone in the company is legally allowed to give a POA to a third party. Only those who are authorized to sign a POA can sign the agreement, making it both valid and legal.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the POA holder must be a US resident. Once all of these requirements have been met, you will have successfully appointed a Power of Attorney for your shipments.
Preparing a POA document isn’t usually a complicated or expensive process. In most cases, the cost of getting a POA will be less than US 200$. However, prices can vary depending on which freight forwarder you use and whether or not you need an original Power of Attorney (POA) document.
If you’re using a freight forwarder, they may have their own POA form that they prefer you to use. In this case, the cost will be included in the price of shipping your goods. If you need an original POA document, there may be an additional cost for this service.
It’s important to note that a Power of Attorney is only valid for a certain period of time. After this time has expired, you’ll need to get a new POA if you want to continue using the same freight forwarder.