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COURT OF APPEALS RULES THAT SANTA SUIT IS NOT FESTIVE

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (in the April 29, 2019 decision in Rubies Costume Company v. United States), considered whether the below “Premier Plush 9 Piece Santa Suit” (consisting of a jacket, pants, gloves, a toy sack, a beard, a wig, a hat, a belt, and shoe covers) fell within the tariff provision describing “Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof.”

While the Court acknowledged that the Santa Claus costume is customarily worn in connection with the celebration of Christmas, it noted that the coverage of Chapter 95 excludes “fancy dress, of textiles, of chapter 61 or 62”. Noting the well-made nature of the costume, the Court found that the elaborate Santa Suit constituted fancy dress, excluded from duty-free festive treatment. As such, its components were separately classified (e.g., jacket (10% duty), pants (28.2% duty), gloves (10.0% duty), toy sack (17.6% duty) and various accessories (duty-free)).

As demonstrated by this latest decision, there are many factors that go into the determination as to whether an article (be it apparel, ceramic ware, lighting, ritual items, etc.) may be considered “festive.” We are available to further explore this area with you and conduct a review of your product line to identify potential duty savings opportunities. Please do not hesitate to contact our office for more information.

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