Do I Have to Pay Import Duties or Taxes?

Every city, state, and country has their own laws regarding foreign imports. 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 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), are different from the import duty and are charged to customers on all goods of that type, regardless of whether it is imported or locally produced. 
The importer (i.e. the customer) is always responsible for paying their local import duties and taxes. In some situations, the duties and taxes are prepaid at the time of sale, while in other cases the duties and taxes are required to be paid at delivery. Either way, the importer is required to pay these taxes because they go to the benefit of their government and are additive to the sale. 

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