As anyone involved in the drawback process can attest, the governing statutes, regulations, and procedures outline a very arcane process that requires a significant amount of expertise, time, and effort to be successful. Although the requirements are rigorous, thankfully there is some relief available by utilizing one or more of the drawback privileges to reduce paperwork and expedite refunds.
Probably the most frequently used privilege is Accelerated Payment, discussed in §191.92. Under this provision, a claimant may request payment of the drawback before the drawback entry is actually liquidated. A claimant wishing to claim under this privilege must submit a detailed application with information about the company, the products being claimed, and the records maintained to support the claim. Once a company is approved and establishes the necessary bonds, drawback claims using Accelerated Payment will be certified for payment within three weeks after the claim is filed.
Claimants filing Unused Merchandise Drawback claims have several privileges available to them to expedite the claiming process. To escape the requirement to provide CBP with prior Notification of the Intent to export with benefit of drawback, a claimant may apply for a Waiver of Prior Notification. Claimants that have not been granted this waiver must notify CBP at least two working days prior to the date of intended exportation in order to afford CBP the opportunity to inspect the goods. This privilege only covers export shipments occurring after the date of the waiver approval, as per §191.91 of the drawback regulations.
For those situations where a claimant has exported the goods prior to obtaining a Waiver of Prior Notice, there is a privilege available to cover historical transactions. This is covered in §191.36, but may be used by a claimant only once. A claimant applying for this One-Time Waiver must therefore be careful to identify all drawback eligible exports within the company in order to be as inclusive as possible.
The Drawback Compliance Program is a voluntary program available to claimants which requires CBP “to inform potential drawback claimants and related parties clearly about their rights and obligations under the drawback law and regulations” (§191.191). Once certified as a participant in this little used program, a claimant will receive written notifications and reduced penalties for violations that are not fraudulent or repeated. The application process for this privilege is extensive, and the claimant must meet all of the core requirements and successfully complete a review by CBP before being approved.
Since all of these applications require the same basic corporate data and information about a claimant’s drawback program, applying for two or more of these privileges becomes an exercise in redundancy. Customs has recently issued a Combined Privilege Application, Version 1.0 March 2013, which allows for claimants to apply for any combination of these privileges in a single application. Although the basic data requirements of this single application are the same as in the individual privilege applications, the convenience of submitting a single form can be a real time saver, particularly to those claimants new to drawback. You can obtain copies of this new Combined Privilege Application from our website.