By Michael P. House and Shuaiqi Yuan

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of the Treasury have issued a temporary final rule (effective April 20, 2020) that postpones the deadline for U.S. importers to pay certain estimated duties, taxes, and fees that they would ordinarily be obligated to pay at the time they import goods. This postponement is for importers who are experiencing a significant financial hardship in paying the estimated import duties and taxes due at the time of importation due to COVID-19. Under the new rule, for merchandise imported in March or April of 2020, the deadline for payment of applicable estimated duties and taxes will be postponed for a period of 90 days from the date that the payment would otherwise have been due.

To qualify for the 90-day duty deferral, importers must demonstrate that their operations were “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.”

This temporary postponement does not apply to entries that are subject to certain specified trade remedies, including antidumping and countervailing duties, China Section 301 duties, and Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. Also, this temporary postponement does not permit return of any deposits of estimated duties, taxes, or fees that have been paid.

A copy of the CBP/Treasury notice may be found here.

Please contact the International Trade Practice if you or a client needs additional information or assistance.