Reed Smith Client Alerts

Beginning on April 20, 2020, the Secretary of the Treasury and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will postpone the deadline for payment for the deposit of certain estimated duties, taxes, and fees for 90 calendar days from the payment due date for importers facing “significant financial hardship” in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This postponement applies to formal entries of merchandise entered (or withdrawn from a warehouse) for consumption – including from a Foreign-Trade Zone – in March or April 2020. Importers taking advantage of the 90-day postponement period should be aware that the temporary postponement does not apply to goods subject to anti-dumping and countervailing duties, or duties assessed pursuant to section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, and section 201 or 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. CBP will not return deposits of estimated duties, taxes, and fees that have already been paid. Moreover, this postponement has no impact on the time frame for entry summary filings.

Auteurs: Michael J. Lowell Manasi Venkatesh

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As indicated in a joint temporary final rule issue by the Treasury Department and CBP, available on cbp.gov, and an alert issued by CBP’s Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS #42423171), an importer will be considered to have a “significant financial hardship” if its operations are “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.” Although an importer does not need to file documentation with CBP to be eligible for this relief, it must maintain documentation as part of its books and records establishing that it meets the requirements for relief. CBP specifically indicates in its alert that it may conduct a review of the documentation at a future date to ensure compliance with the requirements.

To take advantage of this 90-day postponement, CBP encourages filers to utilize the Automated Clearinghouse for electronic payment. CBP has issued further payment instructions for qualifying entries in CSMS #42421561.

Our Reed Smith Coronavirus team includes multidisciplinary lawyers from Asia, EME and the United States who stand ready to advise you on the issues above or others you may face related to COVID-19.

For more information on the legal and business implications of COVID-19, visit the Reed Smith Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center or contact us at COVID-19@reedsmith.com.

Client Alert 2020-260