Businesses granted duty waivers for apparel imports

Businesses granted duty waivers for apparel imports
Acting Financial Secretary, Marlon Johnson.

The Ministry of Finance is inviting retail shoe and clothing merchants to take advantage of the customs duty waiver that is available to businesses to reduce the cost of importing goods. Since the policy was announced in July, with the start of the 2018/2019 budget year, the Ministry of Finance granted waivers to 154 applicants.

There are many more eligible businesses that can apply for the waiver, and the Ministry of Finance wants to encourage them to utilize this tax relief measure to reduce the cost of doing business and to bring down the price for retail shopping at home.

Starting from November, interested businesses should apply online at: atlas.revenue.gov.bs, the Ministry of Finance’s digital portal for revenue waiver applications.

“We want to make the application and approval possible is as smooth as possible, so we encourage eligible businesses to apply online. This waiver will help businesses to reduce their costs of doing business, and help consumers to save. We want to make sure businesses are aware of the opportunity and know how to take advantage of it. We have already granted 154 waivers and we will continue to review any new applications we receive online,” said Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson.

“Businesses who are granted waivers are obligated to disclose this to consumers. They must advertise this in their stores and show the mark down in prices that resulted from their waivers. Consumers should therefore look out for these in-store signs to ensure they are the beneficiaries of cost savings. Note also that the Ministry will be doing spot checks on merchants to determine their compliance to the terms of the duty waiver – including reducing their prices and advertising same openly to customers,” Mr Johnson said.

Recognizing the impact of online shopping and competition from the South Florida market on the local retail market, the Government implemented the customs duty waiver as part of its package of tax relief measures earlier this year. The decision to reduce duty by about 20 percent helps to make shopping more affordable and local retailers more competitive.

Eligible shoe and clothing retailers with a valid business license, no matter how big or small, can apply online for the duty waiver. It covers the import of clothing, footwear and other wearing apparels and accessories, as well as fabric for making apparel, sewing needles, buttons and zippers for clothing for a period of six months.

As part of the application process, businesses must declare the current list pricing of sample items at the time of application, and the anticipated new price after the concessions are granted. They also have to commit to advertise their marked down prices in a prominent way. And to qualify for a renewal, they have to show, using examples, how prices have been marked down and quantify the savings passed on to consumers. They are also subject to inspections and review.