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HQ 223789

June 26, 1992

CON-9 CO:R:C:E 223789 SR


Mr. John P. Donohue
Donohue And Donohue
Fifth Floor, The Bank Building
421 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: Temporary Importation under Bond; TIB; destruction; charitable donation; 9813.00.30, HTSUS

Dear Mr. Donohue:

This is in reference to your letter dated March 3, 1992, requesting a ruling concerning whether crash tested Volvos can be donated to charitable donations and be considered destroyed for Customs purposes.


Volvo North America Corporation plans to import approximately 50 automobiles to be used for crash testing as a part of its product safety program. They plan to import the automobiles temporarily under bond under subheading 9813.00.30, Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for articles intended solely for testing. The crash testing will destroy the cars and leave them fully inoperable. Volvo would like to donate the remains of the destroyed automobiles to rescue squads to use in emergency victim extraction drills or trade schools for use in teaching the automobile repair trade. Volvo would receive written commitments that none of the training could rehabilitate the automobiles for use or sale.


Whether donation of automobiles that have been crash tested, to non-profit organizations, would render the crash testing insufficient destruction to fulfill the obligation under the bond.


Under subheading 9813.00.30, HTSUS, articles may be admitted for testing, experimental or review purposes temporarily free of duty under bond if they are not imported for sale or for sale on approval, and they must be exported within one year. U.S. Note 3, Subchapter XIII, HTSUS, provides that upon satisfactory proof that any article admitted under heading 9813.00.30, HTSUS, has been destroyed because of its use for any purpose provided for therein, the obligation under the bond to export such article shall be treated as satisfied.

The court in American Gas Accumulator Co. v. United States, 56 Treas. Dec. 368, T.D. 43642 (October 29, 1929), in discussing destruction states the following: ". . . if articles were destroyed to such an extent that they were only valuable in commerce as old scrap, they still would be articles of commerce to which duty attaches upon importation, and therefore, could not be said to have been destroyed." The fact that there are organizations that have use for the Volvos indicates that they could still be considered articles of commerce and could not be considered to be destroyed according to the definition provided by the court. Customs has no authority to allow an exception to the laws.

Recently a similar situation was before Customs, in which an importer wished to donate merchandise that was entered into the U.S. temporarily under bond. In this case special legislation was drafted to allow charitable donation of goods admitted under a bond. This special legislation provides that the merchandise must be donated within the year, the donee must pay the amount of duty that would have been assessed, a penalty will be assessed if the donee organization sells the merchandise or permits the use of the merchandise in the production of any article that is sold or otherwise entered into commerce within a 10 year period. The donee may destroy the merchandise at any time. Also in the special legislation is language denying charitable deduction of the donated merchandise.


Automobiles that have been crash tested cannot be donated to a non-profit organization and be considered destroyed for purposes of a bond under subheading 9813.00.30, HTSUS. We
suggest that you propose special legislation similar to that discussed above.


John Durant, Director

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