Late Payment and Interest Charges Considered on Softwood Lumber Assessments
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking comments no later than July 14 on a proposed rule that would prescribe late payment and interest charges on past due assessments under the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order.
Under this order, assessments are collected from U.S. manufacturers and importers (with certain exemptions) and used for projects within the U.S. to promote softwood lumber, which is used in products like flooring, siding and framing. Assessment collection began in January 2012, and assessments are due 30 calendar days after the end of each quarter. When an assessment is not paid within 60 calendar days of when it is due, a late payment charge and interest may be imposed. However, this authority has not been implemented to date.
AMS is now proposing to impose a one-time late payment charge of 10% of the assessments due, before interest charges have accrued, on any assessments not received within 60 calendar days of the due date. The agency is also proposing that 1.5% per month interest on the outstanding balance, including any late payment and accrued interest, be added to any accounts for which payment has not been received within 60 calendar days of the due date. Such interest would continue to accrue monthly until the outstanding balance is paid.