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U.S. trade court denies drawback of harbor maintenance tax

U.S. trade court, drawback of harbor maintenance tax

The U.S. Court of International Trade today granted summary judgment for the government in a case concerning a challenge to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denial of the importer’s claim for drawback of harbor maintenance tax, merchandise processing fees, and environmental taxes that were paid on the import of petroleum products into the United States. The trade court found that because the drawback claims did not include a calculation of the taxes and fees sought within the three-year limitations period, the drawback claims were time-barred.


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The case is: Flint Hills Resources, LP v. United States, Slip Op. 18-10 (CIT September 6, 2018). Read the trade court’s opinion.


In this case, the trade court found that the importer’s drawback claim for taxes and fees were foreclosed under the rules provided in Federal Circuit cases of Aectra and Shell. The trade court further explained in detail that:

  • A complete drawback claim must include a correct calculation of any amount of drawback due.
  • A correct calculation of the amount of drawback due includes any taxes or fees sought by the importer.
  • The right to drawback of taxes and fees is limited under the 2004 Trade Act to claimants that had previously sought drawback of taxes and fees within the three-year limitations period.

The trade court concluded that the importer’s drawback claims did not include a calculation of the taxes and fees sought within the three-year limitations period and thus were time-barred.


For more information on this topic or to learn more about KPMG’s Trade & Customs Services, contact:

Doug Zuvich
Partner, Global Practice Leader
T: 312-665-1022

Andy Siciliano
Partner, National Practice Leader
T: 631-425-6057

Irina Vaysfeld
T: 212-872-2973

Robert Waldrop
T: 212-954-8117 

Christopher Young
T: 312-665-3229

George Zaharatos
T: 404-222-3292

John L. McLoughlin
Principal, East Coast Leader
T: 267-256-2614

Luis (Lou) Abad
Principal, WNT
T: 212-954-3094

Amie Ahanchian
Managing Director
T: 202-533-3247

Gisele Belotto
Managing Director
T: 305-913-2779

Andy Doornaert
Managing Director
T: 313-230-3080

Jessica Libby
Managing Director
T: 612-305-5533

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