Shell Oil Co. v. United States, No. 11-1531 (Fed. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Shell imported petroleum products, 1993-1994, upon which custom duties, taxes, and other fees were paid. During the same period, Shell exported drawback-eligible substitute finished petroleum derivatives. In 1995-1996, substitution drawback claims were filed with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Shell’s behalf. Generally, Customs provides a drawback of 99% of any duty, tax, or fee imposed under federal law upon entry or importation if the merchandise (or a commercially interchangeable substitute) is subsequently exported or destroyed under Customs supervision and not used within the U.S. before exportation or destruction, 19 U.S.C. 1313(j),(p). Drawback claims must be filed within three years of exportation. During the time of Shell’s imports, drawback eligibility of Harbor Maintenance Tax and Environmental Tax payments, which Shell now seeks, were heavily disputed. Shell was found not to have included an express request for HMT and ET in the “net claim” figure. In 1997, after the three-year period for the filing of drawback claims had expired Shell filed protests with Customs, seeking drawback as to HMT and ET payments. Customs denied Shell’s protests. The Court of International Trade found the claims time-barred. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that 1999 and 2004 statutory amendments did not change Shell’s position.