Duty Cuts in Full Force
Government officials on Thursday (7 August 2014) previewed some imminent changes at the Customs Department aimed at speeding up the process of duty assessment.
At a press conference at the Government Administration Building, Premier Alden McLaughlin and Finance Minister Marco Archer announced that Customs Office would undertake to do all processing and coding for importers for a minimal fee. In addition two new processes will aim to facilitate the registration process for electronic items to be taken overseas.
Collector of Customs Samantha Bennett who was present at the press conference explains: “Our biggest complaint in relation to the Customs Tariff Law now appears to be the company/importer resources required to code out the invoices, which can take hours. Some businesses simply do not have the resources to do this.
To make things easier, from 1 September Customs will resume coding and inputting invoices after the duties have been paid, as was the case until March of this year, when the new tariffs came into effect. A new fee of $5 per declaration will cover the costs of additional resources needed to carry out this function.
Importers who wish to do so will still be able to tariff code their own invoices at no cost.
Larger companies, which have a secured bank guarantee and bond, will gradually be moved to an online portal process that should be available by September 1st 2014. By the end of the year, Customs aims to have online access for all importers, including small and individual importers.
To further ease the process the department also plans to roll up some of the more specific tariff codes in order to reduce time spent determining the classification by importers wishing to code their own declaration forms. Essentially items that have a broad tariff code, which further has a number of sub tariff codes, will revert to only the broader code.
In addition to facilitate registration for electronic items taken overseas, the Department of Customs is offering an online option for registration. Travellers will be able to register items online with photos beginning Monday, 11 August, 2014.
Registration will also continue to be available at any Customs location during regular working hours. These include: Customs Headquarters, and Customs counters at the airport, courier section, parcel post, the seaport.
While this registration process is optional, the onus is on the individual passenger to prove duties were paid previously.
Finally the Premier and Finance Minister also reminded the duty paying public that the 2% reduction in duty rates for certain categories of imported goods started as of 1 July.
The reduction which was announced in this year’s Budget Address has cut import duty from 22% to 20%, for licensed traders, both retail and wholesale, and covers nearly all goods offered for retail sale.
Since a valid trade and business licences (TBLs) is necessary for traders to be eligible for the reduction, the agency will rely on the Department of Commerce and Investment to provide regularly updated lists of licensed traders.
Those paying duties will have the details of their transactions updated automatically in the Customs system when presenting a declaration form.
At the same time, licensed traders whose TBLs are up for renewal must submit a copy of their renewal receipts with their declarations so that Customs officers will then apply the new reduced rates. Mrs. Bennett notes that this is required because the system only automatically integrates on valid TBLs.
Furthermore where traders import in one name but have their TBL in another name, the system will be unable to apply the reductions automatically. Such businesses would need to complete their import entries in the same name of the TBL in order to receive the reduction.
For further information contact: Bina Mani