Customs measures coming to protect Bermuda business
HAMILTON, Bermuda, Thursday November 3, 2011 – From tomorrow, November 4, goods imported into Bermuda for personal use will incur a 10% higher customs duty.
Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox will table legislation in the House of Assembly amending the Customs Tariff Act 1970 increasing the rate of duty payable on accompanied goods imported for personal use from 25 percent to 35 percent.
Announced by Premier Cox in the summer, the tariff changes are a part of a basket of temporary measures to assist local businesses that have a pressing need for financial relief due to the ongoing global recession.
Specifically, the tariff measures are intended to discourage personal spending abroad, and to help steer expenditure into the local retail sector, thereby boosting sales and keeping approximately 4,000 Bermudians employed in local stores.
In addition, the BMD$100 duty free allowance for returning residents will be restricted so that where two or more members of the same household return to the Island on the same aircraft or vessel, only one may claim the allowance.
“Members of the same household” means persons living in the same residence, regardless of whether or not they are related; and so includes persons living in the same residence due to an employer-employee relationship, a house-sharing arrangement, or for any other reason.
The $100 allowance restriction is intended to be of limited duration and will end on March 31, 2012.
Accompanied personal goods that are currently zero-rated in the tariff will be unaffected by this change — they will remain dutiable at 0%. The duty rate for cigarettes will also remain unchanged at BMD$35 per 200 cigarettes.
The duty rate increase does not affect importers of commercial goods. Nor does the restriction of the $100 duty allowance affect any other duty free allowance. For example, each arriving passenger will still be allowed to import one litre of wine, one litre of spirits, 0.5kg of tobacco, 50 cigars and 200 cigarettes without payment of duty.
There has been no change to the Customs Traveller Declaration form. Arriving passengers will continue to make their CTD in accordance with the guidance on that form.
Likewise there will be no change in the currently available methods of paying duty. Arriving passengers will continue to have the option of paying import duty in excess of their allowances at either the customs cashier window or online by Automated Teller Machine or Kiosk.