The government announced yesterday that it has temporarily suspended the enforcement of a nominal Bahamas Customs Department processing fee that was approved in the 2021/2022 budget, explaining that some people have already been incorrectly charged and there needs to be more customer education on the fee, as well as training within the Customs Department.
The government said in a statement that the new fee would be levied on individuals declaring taxable goods at customs checkpoints as they re-enter the country. It was put in place to support the cost of operations by the Bahamas Customs and Excise Department.
“The $3.35 fee does not apply to individuals using their customs exemption or filing nothing to declare,” the statement noted. “It is only applicable for individuals who declare taxable goods on a C17 or C18 form, associated with accompanied baggage declarations.”
Comptroller of Customs Dr. Geannine Moss said in the statement that the fees that were incorrectly charged are already being rectified.
“These fees are collected by the Customs Department and deposited directly to the Public Treasury,” Moss said. “We are aware that some customers were charged incorrectly and we are making arrangements to issue the appropriate refunds. While the fee is being suspended, we are reviewing the implementation to ensure adequate training and proper communication.”
The Ministry of Finance recently introduced the Exempt mobile app that allows anyone coming into the country to declare their taxable goods online and pay for them electronically. The statement explained that the fee will be charged on the mobile app or on a manual submission made at a port of entry.
The ministry in its statement also sought to clarify erroneous information about the app.
“The ministry notes that the fees would be applicable to both manual submissions and the submissions through the Exempt app now being trialed,” the statement noted.
“Social media reports linking the app to the fee specifically and to the company Kanoo are wholly erroneous. The app was proposed to and accepted by the Customs Department from the New Providence-based company Exempt Technologies Ltd., that had prepared a proof of concept prior to approaching Customs.”