Customs forms

Postal Service employees should be prepared to let customers know about tools they can use to provide details on customs forms when sending packages to the European Union.

Retail System Software, Click-N-Ship, Global Shipping Software and Customs Form Online, among other tools, can assist customers in properly filling out customs forms to comply with new European Union rules.

Customers should be reminded that broad descriptions of the contents are not acceptable.

For example, “men’s cotton dress shirts” is acceptable; “shirts” is not. “Children’s toy doll” would be acceptable; “gift” or “toy” would not.

The specific descriptions are necessary to assign the package’s contents a Harmonized System (HS) tariff code, which is used by some European customs authorities to assess import duties and taxes.

Customers may also choose to research and assign the HS code using an online Census Bureau tool.

The requirement for HS codes extends to the 27 European Union countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

It also applies to Norway and Switzerland.

For retail customers visiting an RSS site and users of USPS Click-N-Ship, the online platform requires them to answer questions about what they’re sending and automatically assigns an HS code to the shipping label.

Signs are now up at Post Offices and other USPS retail outlets around the country explaining the change.

More information can be found at

Running for office?

The Postal Service is reminding employees they may not run for partisan office.

A partisan election is one in which any candidate in the race represents a political party.

This Hatch Act rule applies to partisan elections at the federal, state and local levels. It also applies to employees who are on leave.

Acts considered to be “running for office” include announcing one’s candidacy, campaigning, filing candidacy paperwork and holding meetings to plan campaign strategy.

USPS employees may run in nonpartisan elections — those where no candidate is affiliated with a political party — and it is an employee’s responsibility to ensure that any race he or she enters is nonpartisan.

Employees considering running for any elected office are advised to seek guidance from the Ethics and Legal Compliance team by emailing

The Hatch Act does not prohibit a postal employee from accepting an appointment to public office. However, it does prohibit running for reelection if a partisan election follows the appointment.

Violations of the act can result in disciplinary action, including suspension without pay or removal.

The Ethics Blue page has more resources on the do’s and don’ts of political activity.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 97.21 percent during the week ending March 10, down 0.03 percent from one week earlier.

The data was collected March 15.

WestPac led the four areas with a rating of 97.32 percent, while Atlantic ranked last with a 97.08 percent rating.

Among the 50 districts, ID-MT-OR, part of WestPac, ranked first with a 98.20 percent rating, while Illinois 1, part of Central, ranked last with an 94.28 percent rating.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.” Postal Service employees must request Informed Visibility access through eAccess.

Delivery data. From Jan. 1 through March 3, the Postal Service delivered 91.2 percent of First-Class Mail on time when compared with the organization’s service standard, according to data released last week.

During the same period, USPS delivered 94.4 percent of Marketing Mail and 86.9 percent of Periodicals on time, the figures show.

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