In early January 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) plans to begin an 18-month test of an electronic payment system for taxes and fees imposed on commercial vessels at four ports of entry: Los Angeles/Long Beach, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; Gulfport, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama.
CBP collects various maritime taxes and fees for commercial vessels that enter ports of entry, proceed coast-wise, or utilize certain customs services at a port. Presently, CBP regulations require payment of these taxes and fees by cash or check and specify a paper-based payment process that occurs either onboard the vessel or at the port office. CBP plans to introduce the mobile collections and receipt system which, through its interface with pay.gov and the Automated Commercial Environment, will give participants the option to pay the taxes and fees online upon or prior to vessel arrival at the ports. Any commercial vessel agent or other entity responsible for payment of commercial vessel taxes and fees may participate in the pilot program. In order to receive notification emails from CBP’s mobile collections and receipt (“MCR”) system, a commercial vessel agent or other party submitting payment must create an MCR profile and maintain a valid email address as part of the profile.
The pilot program will also introduce portable electronic devices that authorized CBP employees will use to view commercial vessel arrival data, automatically calculate applicable fees, electronically process payments, and send receipts via email.
Eric W. Sella