Import Regulations for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
The Bahamas is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), however, because it is not a signatory to CARIFTA, it does not apply the Common External Tariff (CET) for customs duties purposes. The Bahamas introduced a consumption-based Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported goods and services in 2015. The 7.5% VAT would not apply to a supply of goods or services that have a special rate or are exempt from VAT.
Import Duties and Documentation
Customs duties are applied on the CIF value of imported goods and on average is 33% plus a stamp duty of 2% - 7% (most countries that accede to the WTO have rates between 9% and 20%). Certain items are imported duty-free and these include all goods imported with the prior approval of the Minister of Finance by a charitable organization to be used exclusively for charitable purposes, teaching aids, etc. Goods may be imported on a temporary basis against a security bond or deposit which is refundable upon their re-exportation. Travelling salesmen must obtain a work permit from the Department of Immigration in order to clear commercial samples through Customs.
The control of imports is exercised by Customs. All permitted goods may be imported without a licence. Certain commodities are prohibited or controlled because of health, social or humanitarian reasons. Import licences are not required except in the cases of crawfish, conch, arms and ammunition and in certain cases, industrial gold, etc. The Police Department issues import licences for arms and ammunition and the Central Bank licenses imports of industrial gold.
For additional information on import duties and controls please visit the Bahamas Customs website and the 'Businesses’ section of the Bahamas Government website.
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