CBP Announces Deferment of Duties and Fees for Certain Importers During COVID-19 Response

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 According to CSMS #42423171, this temporary postponement applies to formal entries of merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption (including entries for consumption from a Foreign Trade Zone) in March 2020 or April 2020.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 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.

As more information is released, the NCBFAA will be sure to update our members accordingly.