How is customs and duties charges for online purchases calculated?

Date: 
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 - 16:11

The Customs and Excise Division says it is aware of numerous complaints about charges applied to items purchased and imported via courier companies by members of the public.
In a press release issued this afternoon, the Division explained how charges are calculated.
The following is a press release from the Customs and Excise Division:

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:

Example 1
Clothing is imported with an invoice value of US $400.00
Invoice value – US $400.00
Insurance – US $10.00
Freight – US $150.00
Customs Value/C.I.F (US$) = 400.00+10.00+150.00=US$560.00
Rate of Exchange = 6.77959 TT to US $1
Customs Value/C.I.F (TT) = $560.00 x 6.77959 = TT $3,796.57
Rate of Import Customs Duty (ICD) on clothing = 20%
Import Duties = $3,796.57 x 20% = $759.31
Online Purchase Tax (OPT) = $3,796.57x 7% = TT$265.76
Value Added Tax (VAT) = ($3,796.57+$759.31+$265.76) x
12.5% = $602.71
Total Taxes Payable = 759.31+ 265.76+ 602.71 = TT $1,627.78

Example 2
A Laptop is imported with an invoice value of US $400.00
Invoice value – US $400.00
No insurance paid
Freight = US $22.00
Customs Value/C.I.F. (US$) = 400.00 + 22.00 = US $422.00
Rate of Exchange = 6.77959 TT to US $1
Customs Value/C.I.F (TT) = $422.00 x 6.77959 = TT $2,860.99
Rate of Import Customs Duty (ICD) on laptop = 0%
Import Duties = $0.00
Online Purchase Tax (OPT) = $2,860.99x 7% = $200.27
Value Added Tax (VAT) = ($2,860.99+$200.27) x 12.5% =
$382.66
Total Taxes Payable = $200.27 + $382.66 = TT $582.93

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 78:01.


 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 78:01.
 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 77:01.
 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 laws mentioned above can be viewed at: http://www.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws_listing.html
Please note 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 further enquiries members of the public can email: [email protected]

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