On April 18, President Donald Trump signed an executive order allowing the Secretary of the Treasury to extend deadlines on certain estimated payments. A day later, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Treasury Department issued a temporary final rule postponing the deadline for payment for the deposit of certain estimated duties, taxes, and fees for 90 calendar days to importers experiencing a significant financial hardship due to COVID-19. According to CSMS #42423171, this temporary postponement applies to formal entries of merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption (including entries for consumption from a Foreign Trade Zone) in March 2020 or April 2020. CBP will not return deposits of estimated duties, taxes, and fees that have already been paid. It does not, however, apply to any entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, where the entry summary includes merchandise subject to one or more of the following:
- Antidumping duties,
- Countervailing duties,
- Duties assessed pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962,
- Duties assessed pursuant to Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, and
- Duties assessed pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
No interest will accrue for the postponed payment of such estimated duties, taxes, and fees during this 90-day postponement period. No penalty, liquidated damages, or other sanction will be imposed for the postponed payment of the deposit of estimated duties, taxes, and fees in accordance with this temporary postponement.
CBP published a follow-up CSMS message sharing payment instructions entries that qualify for the temporary 90-day postponement period.
Additionally, CBP held a conference call with the Trade on Sunday evening to discuss the executive order and subsequent CSMS messages. The agency reiterated many of the key points from the TFR including the fact that importers must be able to demonstrate financial hardship. This means an eligible importer’s operation must be fully or partially suspended during March or April 2020 due to orders from a competent governmental authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings because of COVID-19, and as a result of such suspension, the gross receipts of such importer for March 13-31, 2020 or April 2020 are less than 60 percent of the gross receipts for the comparable period in 2019. An eligible importer need not file additional documentation with CBP to be eligible for this relief but must maintain documentation as part of its books and records establishing that it meets the requirements for relief. CBP says the trade community should monitor CSMS and the agency’s COVID-19 Updates and Announcements webpage for additional changes related to COVID-19. Policy questions should be directed to the Office of Trade, Trade Policy and Programs at OTentrysummary@cbp.dhs.gov.
Update as of 4:51pm EST:
Is the Broker eligible to apply for postponement?
Brokers often serve as Importer of Record (IOR) or submit payments on behalf of their client. CBP stated that it comes down to the IOR number on the entry summary . The agency noted the IOR number on the entry summary is the legal entity and that party has the legal claim to the postponement.
What about Section 301 exclusions?
CBP said that products covered under a Section 301 exclusion will be eligible as long as the exclusion covers everything on the entry summary . It must be a clean exclusion that covers the entire entry.
If you have goods that are subject to antidumping, countervailing, Section 201, Section 232, or Section 301 additional tariffs, they must be listed on a separate entry . If they are not, then none of the products on the entry summary will be eligible for postponement.
What about April 30 statements?
The 11:59pm deadline tonight is only relevant to the statements that are being processed for payments tomorrow morning 4/21. For 4/30 statements, you have until 4/29 to effect changes on that statement. As of right now, the entry date must be in March or April.
Is it too late to pull back an already authorized statement?
According to CBP, you have until midnight tonight to pull that entry off the monthly statement. And for those who already removed an entry from the periodic monthly statement (PMS) and would like to put it back to receive the 90-day deferral, CBP mentioned that you can add an entry back to the PMS to get the deferral. CSMS #42421561 and this PMS Overview are helpful resources that can assist you with questions regarding the PMS.
I think this applies to me. What should I do?
Review your duties and entry process. If you are providing your duties via PMS, you need to work with your filers TODAY (April 20) to ensure that eligible entries are pulled from statement prior to 11:59pm ET today. In addition to the limitations imposed by entries with trade remedies, there are financial limitations that the broke. r may not be aware of which will prevent some importers from qualifying for the duty postponement. Accordingly, before removing entries from Statement, members may wish to consider obtaining support from their customers for the duty postponement by requesting a statement to the following effect:
“I understand that CBP has provided for a 90-day duty postponement for importers with operations that have been fully or partially suspended during March 2020 or April 2020 due to orders from a competent governmental authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19, and as a result of such suspension, the gross receipts of such importer for March 13-31, 2020 or April 2020 are less than 60 percent of the gross receipts for the comparable period in 2019. I confirm that my company satisfies this requirement and I understand that I may be required to submit proof of our qualification to CBP.”
Can I still claim drawback against the entry summary during the deferral period?
This isn’t yet clearly defined. CBP said they are considering the combination duties available for refunds for drawback as well as legally what they are required and able to do. CBP will try to provide an answer on legal and automation aspects so we can also know whether ACE will prevent you from doing so or if you simply must know not to make the claim.
What else should I know?
Any deposits of duties, taxes, or fees that have already been paid are ineligible for refund and deferment.
CBP plans on releasing a frequently asked questions page to address additional questions the Trade may have, which we’ll link to here. Questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.