Customs (CBP) has announced some temporary changes (CSMS #42423171, CSMS #42421561, FRN) concerning the payment of certain duties, taxes and fees in response to importers negatively impacted by COVID-19. These changes only impact certain types of import transactions (entries), such as formal entries of merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption from March 2020 or April 2020. Importers that qualify will defer the estimated duties, taxes, and fees up to 90 days from the payment due date.
In order to be eligible, CBP indicated that the importer must have a significant financial hardship due to COVID-19. CBP defined this financial hardship as:
- An importer that has fully or partially suspended operations during March or April 2020 due to orders from a competent governmental authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19
- An Importer were gross receipts for March 13-31, 2020 or April 2020 are less than 60 percent of the gross receipts for the comparable period in 2019
CBP went further and indicated 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.”
While this may be a significant change, it appears this is a temporary change for a short period. Importers are encouraged to visit any of the links we have provided and/or reach out to their Customs Brokers to see how this may affect their particular situation.
Due to the fast moving & evolving circumstances surrounding this deferment opportunity, we ask that any importer who is looking to take advantage of this reach out to our office to let us know. This will greatly assist us in the future in the event CBP begins to issues claims notices on any transaction.