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HQ 229071

November 2, 2001

DRA-2-01 RR:CR:DR 229071 LLB

Category: DRAWBACK

Maryanne Carney, Chief
Drawback & Records Branch, New York
1210 Corbin Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201

RE: Internal Advice Request, Port of New York; 19 C.F.R. §§ 191.51(a)(1) & 191.52(b); HQ 228093 (August 31, 1999).

Dear Ms. Carney:

This office has reviewed the above-referenced request for internal advice initiated by your letter dated February 1, 2001. We have considered the request and have made the following decision.


The drawback claimant filed a drawback claim in the Port of Houston on September 28, 2000. On September 29, 2000, the Port of Houston rejected the claim, based on several errors on the drawback form, CF 7551. The drawback claimant re-filed the foregoing claim in the Port of New York on November 6, 2000; however, requested that the claim be “deemed filed” as of September 28, 2000—the filing date of the claim rejected by the Port of Houston. You request whether the drawback claimant may use the earlier filing date.


Whether the drawback claim was rejected in accordance with Customs Regulations

Whether a complete drawback claim, subject to perfection, may be re-filed in another Customs port and deemed filed on the date of the original drawback claim


Pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 191.51(a)(1), a complete drawback claim consists of “the drawback entry on Customs Form 7551, applicable certificate(s) of manufacture and delivery, applicable Notice(s) of Intent to Export, Destroy, or Return Merchandise for Purposes of Drawback, applicable import entry number(s), coding sheet unless data is filed electronically, and evidence of exportation or destruction under sub-part G of this part.”

Upon review of a drawback claim, if the claim is determined to be incomplete (se § 191.51(a)(1), the claim will be rejected and Customs will notify the filer in writing. The filer shall then have the opportunity to complete the claim subject to the requirement for filing a complete claim within 3 years.

19 C.F.R. § 191.52(a).

The drawback claimant argues that the drawback claim, as submitted, was complete and subject to perfection. The Port of Houston determined that the claimant’s drawback claim was incomplete because of several errors on the entry form, CF 7551, namely: i) use of the file code “UI4” indicated that the broker was not permitted to conduct business in the Port of Houston;

Pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1641(c)(1), a licensed Customs broker must have a national permit or a permit for each Customs district in which he or she is conducting business. ii.) the claims were not submitted on the ABI, as indicated on the CF 7551; iii) there were no accelerated payment privileges under the “MF” IRS suffix indicated by the claimant; and iv.) the entry type code should have been 45. The claimant does not dispute that it made the foregoing errors, rather, it argues that these errors are “technical and non-substantive” in nature.

First, the regulations do not distinguish between “technical, non-substantive” and substantive errors when defining a complete drawback claim. See § 191.51(a)(1). Second, in HQ 228093 (August 31, 1999), Customs determined that an incorrect drawback entry form and Certificate of Manufacture constituted an incomplete claim. Similarly, the drawback claimant here has submitted, as described above, an entry form with incorrect information; therefore, the Port of Houston appropriately rejected the claim as incomplete. Insofar as the drawback claim was rejected as incomplete, perfection would not be an option to the drawback claimant until the drawback claim was complete. See 19 C.F.R. § 191.52(b)(“If Customs determines that the claim is complete according to the requirements of 191.51(a)(1), but that additional evidence is required, Customs will notify the filer in writing.”)(emphasis added). Hence, the drawback claim was not a complete claim subject to perfection as the claimant asserts.

Nevertheless, even if the drawback claim was complete and subject to perfection, perfection would occur in the Port of Houston, not in the port where the claimant decides to re-file its claim. Pursuant to § 191.52(b), “[t]he claimant shall furnish . . . the evidence or information requested, within 30 days of the date of notification by Customs.” Since the Port of Houston requested the information, the drawback claimant’s response would be directed to that port.

Last, the claimant argues, without citation to authority, that that the “re-filed” drawback claim should be deemed filed as of the date of the rejected claim. There is no basis in Customs’ statutes or regulations for allowing a drawback claimant to relate the filing date of a claim filed in one port, back to a filing date of another perfected, unperfected, or certainly not an incomplete drawback claim, filed in different port.


Insofar as the drawback entry form contained several errors, the drawback claim was incomplete within the meaning of 19 C.F.R. § 191.51(a)(1) and therefore, not subject to perfection under 19 C.F.R. § 191.52(b).

There is no basis in Customs’ statutes or regulations for allowing a drawback claimant to relate the filing date of a claim filed in one port, back to a filing date of another perfected, unperfected, and certainly not an incomplete drawback claim, filed in different port.

Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.ustreas.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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