Exigency Order extended to end of the year

Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest, Minister of Finance.

The current Bahamas Customs Hurricane Dorian Exigency Order has been extended to the end of the year – December 31, 2019. 

Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest, Minister of Finance recently made the announcement, which is expected to give business owners and residents that were impacted because of Hurricane Dorian, additional time to secure much-needed relief necessities.

Turnquest noted that beginning December 1, 2019, pursuant to the provisions of Tariff Code 9817.0000 of Chapter 98 of the First Schedule to the Tariff Act, hereby declares the following to be an Exigency which qualifies for the purposes of Customs Duty exemption permitted under Item 9 of the said Tariff Code. 

The urgent need for goods specified in Schedules A and B, which the minister is satisfied are intended for the relief of persons in the islands specified in Schedule C who have suffered hardship or loss as a result of Hurricane Dorian and whose claims/applications in respect of goods specified in Schedule A and B are certified by the Customs Department and the Ministry of Finance.

The Minister of Finance further declared that the importation and sale of goods by individuals and by businesses in respect to inventory and stock under the said Item 9, are only permitted for the period commencing December 1, 2019 and ending December 31, 2019.  

Both days are inclusive the waiver of Departure Tax, Customs Processing Fees, Customs Service Fees, Landing Fees for all flights bringing in relief goods imports in the islands mentioned in Schedule C which are only permitted for the period commencing December 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2019, both days inclusive, or for such further period as the Minister of Finance may specify by Notice; the waiver of Excise Duty, VAT, Customs Processing Fees and any Environmental levy fees for the items specified in Schedules A and B in the islands mentioned in Schedule C.

Schedule A applies to Replacement Motor Vehicles, Replacement Golf Carts, Replacement Motor Cycles. 

Schedule B applies to unprepared food items of all types, including packaged and processed items; Water, Fruit and Vegetable Juice, Clothes, Footwear, Hats, Belts, Socks, Stockings, Gloves, Scarves, Cleaning Supplies, Beds and Bedding Materials, Hardware Supplies and Building Materials. Also included in Schedule B are Landscaping Supplies, Pest Control Supplies, Electrical fixtures and materials, Electrical Generators, Farming Equipment and Supplies, Fishing Equipment and Supplies, Replacement Boats, Replacement Boat Engines, Fuel, Manufacturing Equipment, Cots, Protective and Safety Gear, Household Furniture, Furnishings and Applicances, Solar Panels, Mosquito netting, Plumbing Fixtures and Materials, Office Supplies and Equipment, Tents and Air Conditioning Units.

Schedule C applies to Abaco, Abaco Cays, Grand Bahama Island, Sweetings Cay, Deep Water Cay, and Water Cay.

The goods specified in Schedule A are subject to a specific set of rules. They include – a vehicle must be a replacement for a vehicle that was damaged due to the effects or after-effects of Hurricane Dorian on the islands in Schedule C.

An applicant must present to Customs proof that the vehicle was damaged by either providing an approved Insurance Motor Claim issued as a result of the effects of Hurricane Dorian; or photos of the damaged vehicle, the VIN number and the vehicle’s license disc. The photos can be printed or electronic.

A damaged vehicle must have been licensed within the last 12 months to qualify for replacement.  The applicant must show proof of licensing from the Department of Road Traffic or an Insurance Certificate.

A replacement vehicle up to a maximum Freight on Board (FOB) value of $40,000.00, is entitled to Excise Duty, VAT, Processing Fees, and Environmental Levy Fee waiver. A vehicle that exceeds the $40,000.00 FOB value threshold, will be subject to Excise Duty, VAT payment and other fees on the excess amount over the threshold landed value.

For persons temporarily displaced, replacement vehicles may be landed directly into New Providence, but must be licensed with the Department of Road traffic under license plates issued for Abaco, the Abaco Cays or Grand Bahama Island as appropriate. 

Persons purchasing from domestic licensed auto dealerships are eligible to obtain the tax and fee concessions provided the conditions detailed above are met. In these instances, the dealer may offer an Excise duty, and VAT free price, subject to processes established by Customs Department.

The transfer of a vehicle license to another island will require the full payment of taxes and fees waived under this Exigency Order.

The goods specified in Schedule B are subject to the following rules – Persons and businesses seeking to remove tax exempted items valued in aggregate over $500 from within the islands specified in Schedule C to locations outside of those islands or otherwise to export these items outside the country, must beforehand report such intended movement of items to the Customs Department and make applicable payment of VAT and other taxes and fees that would otherwise be applicable.  

Failure to report and make payment as outlined herein will lead upon discovery to the seizure of said goods and the payment of fines as may be applicable.

Customs Duty and VAT exemption will be granted on donations to registered charitable organizations, and on acquisitions by individuals whose loss as a result of Hurricane Dorian has been verified by Comptroller of Customs. All other authorized donations will be deemed a gift to the government and should be in the name of the authorized government agency. 

Any person who knowingly imports any goods, pursuant to this Declaration, but for a purpose other than as specifically provided for under the Declaration, commits an offence and is liable to penalties and forfeiture of goods in accordance with section 268 and 292, respectively, of the Customs Management Act (No .30 of 2011).

The Hurricane Dorian exigency order began on September 2, 2019. After the order was implemented, Larry Bodie of the Customs Grand Bahama office explained the import process for hurricane relief supplies. 

He informed that there are three simple steps in this process – to complete an Exigency Order Application Form, complete Relevant Customs Declaration Form and present Documents to Customs at Port of Entry for on-site clearance and approval.

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