Customs clears the air- explains import charges on items

Customs clears the air- explains import charges on items

The Customs and Excise Division said it has become aware of numerous complaints by the public, as it relates to the charges applied to items purchased and imported via Express Consignment Cargo Reporters (Courier companies).

The division issued a press release with the calculation of some of the charges.

According to the release, the Customs Value (also called CIF – Cost, Insurance & Freight) of an item is determined by calculating the sum of the following:

  • Cost (Invoice value)
  • Insurance (If paid)
  • Freight (Cost of shipping)

Once the Customs Value / C.I.F of the item has been determined, duties and taxes inclusive of
Online Purchase Tax (OPT) are applied as shown in the examples below:

It added a few other important factors that must be considered when importing:

  • The rate of exchange to be used in any period shall be that notified to the Comptroller
    by the Central Bank, in accordance with Section 23 (3) of the Customs Act, Chapter
  • Import Duty – The Rate of Duty applicable is listed under the respective tariff heading
    number of the item as classified under the First Schedule of the Customs Act, Chapter
  • Online Purchase Tax (OPT) – Is applied at a rate of 7% of the Customs Value of goods
    that have been purchased by means of an electronic transaction, imported into
    Trinidad and Tobago by air transportation, consigned to a consumer and entered from
    a transit shed in accordance with Section 70 of the Miscellaneous Taxes Act, Chapter
  • Value Added Tax (VAT) – This is calculated at a rate of 12.5% of the Customs Value and
    other Taxes on importation, in accordance with Sections 7 and 9 to 12 of the VAT Act,
    Chapter 75:06

The Division said that charges such as fuel surcharge, miscellaneous fees or handling charges are NOT Customs charges.

Members of the public should ensure that a copy of the supplier’s invoice is included with their online purchases.

In cases where invoices are not provided or the declared values are found to be unacceptable,
the public is advised that the Customs Value shall be determined in accordance with the Sixth
Schedule of the Customs Act Chapter 78.01.

All breaches pertaining to a false declaration, evading Customs Laws or concealment of goods
will be dealt in accordance with Sections 212 to 214 of the Customs Act, Chapter 78:01.

For more information on the laws, persons can visit:

For further enquiries members of the public can email: [email protected]