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Customs and Import Duties

Dominican Republic - Customs and Import Duties

The arriving passenger will have to complete a customs form on arrival. Most passengers are stopped by customs and will have to match their luggage to the second half of the luggage identification tag, usually stuck on the ticket or boarding pass, so it is worth keeping this handy. It is forbidden to bring in more than US$10,000 in cash; guns, explosives or ammunition; meat or dairy products; pornographic material; car, machine or motor parts. All taxes and duties are collected in Domican pesos and excepting those products subject to exemptions by law, there are five taxes on imports.

Tariff (Arancel): the basic import tax, which ranges from 0% to 30%.

Customs Service Fee (Tasa de Servicio Aduanero): A fee of 0.4% of the value of the merchandise.

Luxury Tax (Impuesto Selectivo al Consumo): This is a consumption tax for luxury imports or "non-essential" goods that ranges between 15% and 80%. This tax is calculated on the value. Luxury goods include, among others, perfume, whiskey, motor vehicles and tobacco.

Industrialized Goods and Services Tax (ITBIS - Impuesto de Transferencia a los Bienes Industrializados y Servicios): This is a16% tax on processed food products and all non-food products, and services. ITBIS is calculated on the value plus the amount paid for all taxes and duties previously mentioned.

Taxes are collected when items arrive in the country, whether by ship or post or Fedex or equivalent. There is no tax collected on items worth under US$100. However, often items will go missing from parcels or containers, and it is not rare for things to be stuck in customs for weeks or even months, especially at the ports. Sometimes everything will go smoothly, but the expat waiting for his or her container to arrive should be prepared to pay the appropriate bribe to ensure the process goes as smoothly and as speedily as possible.

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This guide was compiled with the help of Lindsay de Feliz, a British expat blogger living in the Dominican Republic. Visit her blog at yoursaucepans.blogspot.com.

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