You must have heard numerous horror stories regarding outrageous custom duties levied to many while bringing things into the US or goods getting from other countries being confiscated etc. They are true up to some extent if the people who attempted to bring materials from the other side of the border but did not have the necessary knowledge on how to bring imported goods across the border or lacked an appropriate guide to importing to USA. You need to meet certain customs requirements in order to bring imported goods into the US or in that case into any other country from a foreign country across the world.Every country in the world has its own laws and regulations on customs duties and tariffs which may or may not differ with other countries. However, there is a set of universal rules and regulations called HS or Harmonised System or Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, based on which most countries in the world set their custom duties and tariffs.
For a simple understanding on the customs and duties, unless you are bringing sensitive goods such as animal or dairy products, or plants, or specific medications, specific copyrighted or trademarked materials etc. you may not need to declare your goods nor pay the customs duties on the border. You can get a full list of restricted and prohibited goods in the website of the US customs website which if you intend to bring must fulfil the customs requirement, follow the procedure and pay the customs duties and tariffs. In addition to this, if you wish to bring any imported goods or wholesale products from other countries into the US, you need to necessarily get a business tax number.
The US customs procedures along with the duties and tariffs can be broadly categorised into two parts, namely at the first part you will have to submit or file the essential documents in order to get your goods released across the border, and secondly, you will have to submit or file additional documents for the assessment of duties. Luckily, you can accomplish both online in the contemporary customs of the US border.
Once you have accomplished filing of all documents along with the additional documents for assessment of duties, the customs officials at the border will decide if they require to examine your goods. The customs officials will examine your goods to ensure you do not violate the rules and regulations. They may even ask clarifications or ask for additional documents before releasing your goods across the border.