The Order provides for exemptions from the assessment.
- Companies that manufacture in the U.S. or import into the U.S. less than 15 million board feet per calendar year are exempt from paying an assessment.
- Companies are exempt from paying assessments on the first 15 million board feet of softwood lumber shipped or imported during the year.
- Exports from the United States are exempt from assessments.1
How to apply for each of these exemptions is explained below:
- Small Company Exemption, for companies under 15 MMBF. U.S. manufacturers and importers who ship or import into the U.S. less than 15 million board feet of softwood lumber during the calendar year (the fiscal year begins on January 1st) are exempt from paying the assessment. If a company is both a U.S. manufacturer and an importer, the company’s domestic shipments and imports shall be added together, and the sum of both shall be used to determine whether or not the company qualifies for the 15 million board feet exemption. Certificates of exemption must be requested annually.
- Action needed—how to request the exemption: To obtain for this exemption, small shippers must annually request a certificate of exemption from the Softwood Lumber Board, this year before February 28th. Use the simple form (linked below) called the “Application For Exemption From Assessment.” This form may be submitted in either English or French. Domestic companies should not forget to provide substantiating documentation; i.e., a statement of previous year annual shipments and imports into the US market, and expectations for shipments in the current year, taken from company records, reports to grading agencies, and so forth.
Importers Please Note: The Softwood Lumber Board utilizes U.S. Customs data to verify importers’ data, therefore importers do not need to submit substantiating documentation. Domestic manufacturers must still submit substantiating documentation. View, download and print the 2018 Application For Exemption From Assessment here.
View, download and print the 2017 Application For Exemption From Assessment here. View the Assessment and Exemption Procedures here.
The Softwood Lumber Board will attempt to mail the Application For Exemption From Assessment form with instructions to each U.S. manufacturer and importer. Companies that do not receive a mailing from the SLB are nonetheless responsible for requesting a certificate of exemption or paying the assessment. Companies that do not request and receive a certificate of exemption will be invoiced and will be responsible for paying assessments to the Board. However, U.S. manufacturers and importers who pay an assessment but ship or import less than 15 mmbf during the year will be reimbursed by the Board within 30 calendar days after the end of the fiscal year or upon receipt of substantiating documentation.
If the volume shipped or imported by a domestic manufacturer or importer holding a certificate of exemption exceeds 15 mmbf in the year for which the certificate was granted, that company is responsible for paying the assessment on all volumes over the 15 mmbf that are not otherwise exempt.
- Exemption for first 15 MMBF. U.S. manufacturers and importers who ship domestically or import 15 million board feet or more per fiscal year shall be exempt from paying assessments on their first 15 million board feet of softwood lumber shipped or imported during the applicable fiscal year. U.S. manufacturers and importers shall deduct their first 15 million board feet when calculating their assessment. No certificate of exemption is required for the 15 million board foot exemption; this exemption is deducted from the total shipped on the Shipment/Import Quarterly Report.
- Exemption for Exports. Shipments of softwood lumber by U.S. manufacturers to locations outside of the United States are exempt from assessment. U.S. manufacturers are to deduct the volume of exports (shipments to a location outside the U.S.) from the total volume of shipments when calculating the volume subject to the assessment. The SLB shall refund assessments that may be paid inadvertently on such shipments and establish any necessary safeguards as deemed appropriate. Softwood lumber destined for export which is shipped by a U.S. manufacturer to a third party who takes possession of the lumber before export is subject to assessment. No certificate of exemption is required for the export exemption; this exemption is deducted from the total shipped on the Shipment/Import Quarterly Report.
1 As required for all checkoffs, the Order provides for an organic exemption. The SLB is not aware of any organic softwood lumber entities. Typically products, mostly food products, labeled as 100 percent organic under the National Organic Program are exempt from paying the assessment under the Organic Exemption – however, some split operations may be exempt from products on their organic products as well. Please contact the Softwood Lumber Board if you believe you may be eligible for the organic exemption.