Business Barbados

When calculating the total duties and taxes to be paid on a shipment the first step is always to determine the Customs Value or CIF.

Customs Value can be calculated as follows:

Selling price of goods$5,000.00 USD
Freight & Insurance$400.00 USD
Total$5,400.00 USD
Customs Value (CIF) (Convert to BDS$ * 1.98)$10,692.00 BDS

Environmental Levy

The main purpose of Environmental Levy is to defray the cost of the disposal of refuse generated by the use of goods imported into Barbados. Environmental Levy is charged at the rate of 1 per cent of the CIF Value on most goods. A very limited number of goods carry a specific rate of Environmental Levy, e.g.: motor vehicles BDS$1,500.00 per vehicle; used motor vehicles BDS$2,000 per used vehicle. There are exemptions from the payment of this levy including those organisations listed in Part II-B of the Customs Tariff, the international financial services sector, manufacturers and the diplomatic corps.

Excise Tax

Most excisable goods are subject to the tax at a specific rate, with the exception of motor vehicles, which are subject to ad valorem rates (tax based on the value of the item). Very few items are exempt from excise taxes. These include motor vehicles imported by the diplomatic corps and other organisations exempt from customs duty under Part II-B of the Customs Tariff. Excise Tax is charged on four categories of goods: Motor Vehicles; Tobacco Products; Alcoholic Beverages and Petroleum Products.

Value Added Tax

Value Added Tax is charged at the rate of 17.5%. This tax is compounded and is charged on the total of the CIF Value and any other import taxes. Some goods are zero-rated.

Duties Charged on Select Imports

Generally, most items are subject rate of duty of 20%. Below are a few examples that are exceptions to this:

ProductRate of DutyImport License Required
Commercial and New Furniture60%
Motor Cars45%Yes

Calculation of Duties and Taxes

A Specific Example of the method of calculation of duties and taxes is provided below:

Customs Value$100.00
Import Duty: 20% of Customs Value ($100.00 * 20%)$20.00
Environmental Levy: 1% of Customs Value ($100.00 * 1%)$1.00
Value Added Tax: 17.5% of (Customs Value Plus Sum of Duties and Taxes) (($100.00 + $20.00 + $1.00)*17.5%)$21.18
Total Duties and Taxes: ($20.00 + $1.00 + $21.18)$42.18

Payment of Duties and Taxes

The Customs Department will release your goods after all import requirements have been met, including the payment of duties and taxes. Upon receiving your payment, the computer system will print a detailed statement on the copies of your Customs Declaration. You will receive copies of the Customs declaration with the printed statement. One of the copies will serve as your receipt.

Uncertified cheques may be accepted subject to the following conditions:

  1. You must have two pieces of personal identification, one of which must be a photo identification;
  2. No cheque previously issued by you has been returned for insufficient funds;
  3. The payment you are making is not for a penalty;
  4. The cheque is from a recognised Barbadian financial institution; and
  5. The cheque is not written by or payable to a third party.

There is presently an Account Holders Module in place that allows for Importers to take delivery of their goods and pay the duties and taxes within 10 days of assessment of the declaration. A Bond must be executed to provide security for the duty liability. The Customs and Excise Department is in the process of migrating to a Prepayment System, which allows importers to deposit sums of money with the Department and to draw down on these deposits and replenish them as necessary. Importers may contact the Computer Division for further details. Importers who have rush shipments and wish to clear them outside of the official hours may do so, but would be required to pay fees and travelling costs for the extra attendance of Customs personnel. Additional fees are required where the extra attendance of personnel from other regulatory agencies is necessary.