[28 FR 14596, Dec. 31, 1963, as amended by T.D. 71-169, 36 FR
12603, July 2, 1971; T.D. 75-110, 40 FR 21027, May 15, 1975; T.D.
76-280, 41 FR 42647, Sept. 28, 1976; T.D. 79-276, 44 FR 61956, Oct.
29, 1979; T.D. 82-145, 47 FR 35475, Aug. 16, 1982; T.D. 85-91, 50 FR
21429, May 24, 1985; T.D. 85-90, 50 FR 21430, May 24, 1985; T.D.
93-12, 58 FR 13196, Mar. 10, 1993; T.D. 95-76, 60 FR 48028, Sept. 18,
1995; T.D. 97-82, 62 FR 51769, Oct. 3, 1997; T.D. 00-22, 65 FR 16515,
Mar. 29, 2000]
Tonnage tax shall be imposed upon a vessel even though she enters
a port of the United States only for orders.
The fact that a vessel passes through the Panama Canal does not
affect the rate of tonnage tax otherwise applicable to the
For the purpose of computing tonnage tax, the net tonnage of a
vessel stated in the vessel's marine document shall be
accepted unless (1) such statement is manifestly wrong, in which
case the net tonnage shall be estimated, pending admeasurement of
the vessel, or the tonnage reported for her by any recognized
classification society may be accepted, or (2) an appendix is
attached to the marine document showing a net tonnage ascertained
under the so-called ``British rules'' or the rules of any
foreign country which have been accepted as substantially in
accord with the rules of the United States, in which case the
tonnage so shown may be accepted and the date the appendix was
issued shall be noted on the tonnage tax certificate, Customs
Form 1002, and on the Vessel Entrance or Clearance Statement,
Customs Form 1300. For the purpose of computing tonnage tax on a
vessel with a tonnage mark and dual tonnages, the higher of the
net tonnages stated in the vessel's marine document or
tonnage certificate shall be used unless the Customs officer
concerned is satisfied by report of the boarding officer,
statement or certificate of the master, or otherwise that the
tonnage mark was not submerged at the time of arrival. Whether
the vessel has a tonnage mark, and if so, whether the mark was
submerged on arrival, shall be noted on Customs Form 1300 by the
The decision of the Commissioner of Customs is the final
administrative decision on any question of interpretation
relating to the collection of tonnage tax or to the refund of
such tax when collected erroneously or illegally, and any
question of doubt shall be referred to him for instructions.
Any person adversely affected by a decision of the Commissioner
of Customs relating to the collection of tonnage tax, or to the
refund of such tax when collected erroneously or illegally, may
appeal the decision in the Court of International Trade provided
that the appeal action is commenced in accordance with the rules
of the Court within 2 years after the cause of action first
Sec. 4.21 Exemptions from tonnage taxes.
[28 FR 14596, Dec. 31, 1963, as amended by T.D. 72-264, 37 FR 20317,
Sept. 29, 1972; T.D. 75-110, 40 FR 21027, May 15, 1975; T.D. 75-206,
40 FR 34586, Aug. 18, 1975; T.D. 79-276, 44 FR 61956, Oct. 29, 1979;
T.D. 83-214, 48 FR 46512, Oct. 13, 1983; T.D. 93-12, 58 FR 13197,
Mar. 10, 1993]
Tonnage taxes and light money shall be suspended in whole or in
part whenever the President by proclamation shall so direct.
The following vessels, or vessels arriving in the circumstances
as defined below, shall be exempt from tonnage tax and light
It comes into port for bunkers (including water), sea stores,
or ship's stores; transacts no other business in the
port; and departs within 24 hours after its arrival.
It arrives in distress, even though required to enter.
It is brought into port by orders of United States naval
authorities and transacts no business while in port other
than the taking on of bunkers, sea stores, or ship's
It is a vessel of war or other vessel which is owned by, or
under the complete control and management of the United
States or the government of a foreign country, and which is
not carrying passengers or merchandise in trade or, if in
ballast, which is not arriving from a foreign port during the
usual course of its employment as a vessel engaged in trade.
It is a yacht or other pleasure vessel not carrying
passengers or merchandise in trade.
It is engaged exclusively in scientific activities.
It is engaged exclusively in laying or repairing cables.
It is engaged in whaling or other fisheries, even though it
may have entered a foreign port for fuel or supplies, if it
did not carry passengers or merchandise in trade.
It is a passenger vessel making three trips or more a week
between a port of the United States and a foreign port.
It is used exclusively as a ferry boat, including a car
It is a tug with a Great Lakes license endorsement on its
vessel document, when towing vessels which are required to
It is a documented vessel with a Great Lakes license
endorsement which has touched at an intermediate foreign port
or ports during a coastwise voyage.
It enters otherwise than by sea from a foreign port at which
tonnage or lighthouse duties or equivalent taxes are not
imposed on vessels of the United States (applicable only
where the vessel arrives from a port in the province of
It is a coastwise-qualified vessel solely engaged in the
coastwise trade (although arriving from a foreign port or
place, it is engaged in the transportation of merchandise or
passengers, or the towing of a vessel other than a vessel in
distress, between points in the U.S. via a foreign point)
(see Secs. 4.80, 4.80a, 4.80b, and 4.92).
It is a vessel entering directly from the Virgin Islands
(U.S.), American Samoa, the islands of Guam, Wake, Midway,
Canton, or Kingman Reef, or Guantanamo Bay Naval Station.
It is a vessel making regular daily trips between any port of
the United States and any port in Canada wholly upon interior
waters not navigable to the ocean, except that such a vessel
shall pay tonnage taxes upon her first arrival in each
It is a vessel arriving at a port in the United States which,
while proceeding between ports in the United States, touched
at a foreign port under circumstances which would have
exempted it from making entry under section 441(4), Tariff
Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1441(4)), had it touched
at a United States port.
Sec. 4.22 Exemptions from special tonnage taxes.
Vessels of the following nations are exempted by treaties,
Presidential proclamations, or orders of the Secretary of the
Treasury from the payment of any higher tonnage duties than are
applicable to vessels of the United States and are exempted from the
payment of light money:
Antigua and Barbuda
Arab Republic of Egypt
Denmark (incl. Faeroe Islands)
German Democratic Republic
German Federal Republic
Great Britain (incl. Cayman Islands)
Republic of Guyana
Hungarian People's Republic
Papua New Guinea
People's Republic of China
St. Vincent and The Grenadines
Syrian Arab Republic
Union of South Africa
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al
Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Qaiwain).
Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations
affecting Sec. 4.22, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which
appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and on GPO
Sec. 4.23 Certificate of payment and cash receipt.
Upon each payment of tonnage tax or light money, the master of the
vessel shall be given a certificate on Customs Form 1002 on which the
control number of the cash receipt (Customs Form 368 or 368A) upon
which payment was recorded shall be written. This certificate shall
constitute the official evidence of such payment and shall be
presented upon each entry during the tonnage year to establish the
date of commencement of the tonnage year and to insure against
overpayment. In the absence of the certificate, evidence of payment
of tonnage tax shall be obtained from the port director to whom the
payment was made.
[T.D. 85-71, 50 FR 15415, Apr. 18, 1985, as amended by T.D. 92-56, 57
FR 24943, June 12, 1992]
Sec. 4.24 Application for refund of tonnage tax.
[T.D. 71-274, 36 FR 21025, Nov. 3, 1971, as amended by T.D. 95-77, 60
FR 50010, Sept. 27, 1995]
The authority to make refunds in accordance with section 26 of
the Act of June 26, 1884 (46 U.S.C. 8) of regular tonnage taxes
described in Sec. 4.20(a) is delegated to the Directors of the
ports where the collections were made. If any doubt exists, the
case shall first be referred to Headquarters, U.S. Customs
Service for advice.
Each application for refund of regular or special tonnage tax or
light money prepared in accordance with this section shall be
filed with the Customs officer to whom payment was made. After
verification of the pertinent facts asserted in the claim, the
application shall be forwarded with any necessary report or
recommendation to the appropriate port director. Applications for
refund of special tonnage tax and light money (see Sec. 4.20(c))
with the reports and recommendations submitted therewith shall be
forwarded by the port director to the Commissioner of Customs for
decision. Any refund authorized by the Port Director under
paragraph (a) of this section or any refund of special tonnage
tax or light money authorized by the Commissioner of Customs
shall be made by the appropriate Customs officer. The records of
tonnage tax shall be clearly noted to show each refund
The application shall be a direct request for the refund of a
definite sum, showing concisely the reasons therefore, the
nationality and name of the vessel, and the date, place, and
amount of each payment for which refund is requested. The
application shall be made within 1 year from date of the payment.
A protest against a payment shall not be accepted as an
application for its refund.
When the application is based upon a claim that more than five
payments of regular tax at either the 2-cent or the 6-cent rate
have been made during a tonnage year, the application shall be
supported by a statement from the appropriate Customs officer at
the port where the application is submitted and from the
appropriate Customs officer at each port at which any claimed
payment was made verifying the facts and showing in each case
whether refunds have been authorized.
The application shall include a certificate by the owner or by
the owner's agent that payment of tonnage tax at the
applicable rate has been or will be made for each entry of the
vessel on a voyage on which that rate is applicable before the
end of the current tonnage year, exclusive of any payment which
has been refunded or which may be refunded as a result of such
The owner or operator of the vessel involved, or other party in
interest, may file with the port Director a petition addressed to
the Commissioner of Customs for a review of the port
director's decision on an application for refund of regular
tonnage tax. Such petition shall be filed in duplicate within 30
days from the date of notice of the initial decision, shall
completely identify the case, and shall set forth in detail the
exceptions to the decision.
Source: United States Government Printing Office