In a White House Executive Order published on Sunday, April 19, 2020, the United States President authorized “to temporarily extend deadlines, for importers suffering significant financial hardship because of COVID-19,” on estimated duty payments.

ELIGIBILITY UNDER FINANCIAL HARDSHIP

To qualify, an importer will be considered under significant financial hardship if the operation of the importer is/has 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 the 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 does not need to file 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 may also conduct a review of the documentation at a future date to ensure compliance with the requirements.

PAYMENT TIMEFRAMES

Estimated duties, taxes, and fees paid on single pay basis or Daily Statement may be postponed up to 90 days from the payment due date.

For Example, if the Original Due Date for entry payment was April 30, 2020, the 90-Day Postponement allows for payment by July 29, 2020.

Formal guidance was released under CSMS #42423171 – COVID-19 – 90 Day Postponement of Payment for the Deposit of Certain Estimated Duties, Taxes, and Fees, advising:

On April 20, 2020, the Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be postponing for 90 calendar days the deadline for payment for the deposit of certain estimated duties, taxes, and fees for importers experiencing a significant financial hardship due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This temporary postponement applies to formal entries of merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption (including entries for consumption from a Foreign Trade Zone) in March 2020 or April 2020.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.

This temporary postponement does not 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.

FORMAL USCBP-2020-0017: Temporary Postponement of the Time to Deposit Certain Estimated Duties, Taxes, and Fees During the National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID- 19) Outbreak

Importers seeking guidance should contact their Customshouse broker or freight forwarding service to coordinate required assistance.

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