On Friday, March 20, 2020 Customs announced that it was accepting requests for short-term relief from payment of estimated duties, taxes and fees due to the COVID-19 emergency, as discussed here.
Nevertheless, on March 26, 2020, Customs issued “Additional Guidance for Entry Summary Payments Impacted by COVID-19” that revised the information and policy in the earlier announcement. In its “Additional Guidance” Customs stated that it was no longer accepting requests for additional days for payment of estimated duties, taxes and fees, but commented that CBP retains the right to allow additional days for payment in narrow circumstances, such as physical inability to file entry or payments, based on technology outages or port closures.
Single payments, daily and periodic monthly statement payments of estimated duties, taxes and fees that should have been tendered from 3/20/2020 through 3/26/2020, payment must be initiated by 3/27/2020. Trade members who did not pay Customs for estimated duties, taxes and fees from 3/20/2020 through 3/26/2020 must initiate payment by 3/27/2020.
Separate from reversing its policy on a limited number of “additional days” for duty relief, we also reported that CBP was considering a more extended 90-day tariff relief plan. Recent reporting, though, indicates that this 90-day tariff relief plan has been shelved. We understand that a number of senior administration officials (including Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and economic adviser Larry Kudlow) were in favor of granting the relief, but were outweighed by others within the Administration (Peter Navarro) as well as influential individuals in the private sector aligned with more protectionist policies.
Husch Blackwell is currently monitoring the situation closely and encourages those who may be affected to reach out to us. Our trade lawyers are available to discuss this possibility as it develops and assist with case-by-case requests for relief. Please contact Robert Stang, Cortney Morgan, Nithya Nagarajan or Jeffrey Neeley for further information.