U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today released guidance on the processing of merchandise imported for relief efforts of Hurricane Irma, both for gifts accepted by FEMA via the international assistance system (IAS) concept of operation (CONOPS), and those being imported by U.S. charities (or other private entities) to assist with disaster relief.
As explained in today’s CBP release—CSMS #17-000601—such imports have been sanctioned by the U.S. State Department as an approved shipment after FEMA exercises its gift acceptance authority, and the goods are eligible to be entered without the payment of duty or taxes pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1322(b) or 19 U.S.C. 1318(b)(2).
The requirement for advanced electronic filing of cargo information may be waived for these shipments. For IAS goods, upon arrival at a port, a paper cargo manifest must be provided by the arriving carrier and screened by the port for high-risk factors in accordance with CBP policy. Also, arriving foreign shipments processed under these guidelines must be logged and tracked locally by the port in accordance with existing policies to document the following:
Shipments of emergency relief supplies, identified by CBP as having been accepted by the United States, through the U.S. State Department, will be allowed to proceed without FDA review or PN data being submitted. FDA will attempt to obtain the information required regarding such shipments in advance of arrival either through CBP or other means and will distribute this information to their field personnel as soon as possible.
CBP may not remit the duty on the entry of any goods imported for disaster relief by a private group or individual pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1322(b), unless the recipient is a recognized tax-exempt charitable organization. These private groups or individuals must provide a letter from the charity, on the charity’s letterhead, with the charity’s IRS number(s), and a statement that they are willing to accept the imported goods. CBP personnel may verify an organization’s tax-exempt status on the IRS list. If the charitable organization is not found, CBP personnel may verify an organization’s tax-exempt status and eligibility to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
For more information, contact a professional with KPMG’s Trade & Customs practice:
Douglas Zuvich | +1 (312) 665-1022 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Siciliano | +1 (631) 425-6057 | email@example.com
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