New Softwood Lumber Assessment Collection Procedures

softwood lumber

Beginning July 1, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will collect assessments on imported softwood lumber covered under the Checkoff on behalf of the Softwood Lumber Board, an industry-funded marketing body first legislated by the 1996 Farm Bill.

Under the Softwood Lumber Checkoff, assessments are collected from importers of record and U.S. manufacturers of softwood lumber. All companies are exempt from paying assessments on their first 15 million board feet shipped to, or within, the United States. A subset of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the program is intended to strengthen and expand the position of softwood lumber in the marketplace, while also striving to develop new uses for the product within the United States. 

U.S. manufacturers who ship less than 15 mmbf of softwood lumber annually within the U.S. are exempt from paying assessments. Small manufacturers must apply to the Softwood Lumber Board for a Certificate of Exemption by completing an Application For Exemption From Assessment. Companies must provide substantiating documentation; i.e., a statement of previous year annual shipments into the U.S. market, and expectations for shipments in the current year, taken from company records, reports to grading agencies, and so forth. Certificates of Exemption must be requested annually.

U.S. manufacturers and importers who ship domestically or import 15 mmbf or more of softwood lumber per year are exempt from paying assessments on their first 15 mmbf shipped or imported during the applicable year.

The SLB will issue refunds to companies on their first 15 mmbf shipped to the U.S. during each calendar year. To ensure that SLB refunds you the proper amount, please submit a Refund Application once you are done importing for the calendar year, or once you have reached the 15 mmbf exemption threshold for the year. This will help the SLB ensure the accuracy of your refund. Your refund application may be submitted to

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