Do I have to pay import duties or taxes?
Each city, state, and country has their own laws about importing foreign goods. The laws of international commerce can be confusing and to make matters worse, inconsistent.
For the sake of clarity, some definitions:
- Import duties are taxes that an importer must pay based on the type of good, the declared value, the good's origin, and quotas. In very simple terms, duties are used by governments to control imports, manage dumping, and provide a benefit for domestically produced goods.
- Taxes, typically in the form of a VAT (value added tax), is a separate tax from the import duty that is charged to customers on all goods of that type i.e. it doesn't matter if it is imported or locally produced.
The importer (i.e. the customer) is always responsible to pay their local import duties and taxes. In some situations the duties and taxes are prepaid at the time of sale and in other cases the duties and taxes are required to be paid at delivery. Either way, the importer must pay these taxes because they go to the benefit of their government and are additive to the sale.