Penalties for evading import duty

The Principal Customs Officer (PCO) on duty at the L.F. Wade International Airport will normally impose on-the-spot monetary penalties on anyone who attempts to evade paying import duty.

Typically, duty evasion happens when travelers undervalue goods (to pay less than the duty due), or when they do not declare certain goods (to avoid paying duty altogether).

If it is determined that you submitted a false declaration to a customs officer, the penalty amount will normally be three times the duty evaded. The PCO will give you a Civil Penalty Notice which states the amount of the penalty assessed and any outstanding duty due. Once you pay the penalty amount and any outstanding duty due, the PCO will restore your goods to you.

If you cannot pay the penalty and any outstanding duty right away, your goods will be held and you will be issued with a numbered Bond Tag. If you do not pay the outstanding duty due within three days, your goods may be moved to a Queen’s Warehouse where additional charges may be incurred.

If the duty and any additional charges are not paid within 33 days of importation, then your goods will be treated as abandoned to the Government and may be sold or otherwise disposed.

Cases involving goods for business use will be dealt with at a later date by Customs Investigations.

Refer to Civil Penalties, forteiture & Restoration Public Notice 20.pdf for detailed guidance on penalties, forfeiture and restoration.

Your rights as a traveller

As a traveller, you have the right to expect officers to be courteous, impartial and behave with integrity. The Customs Department is committed to providing a high quality of service.

If you break the rules, the Customs Department may seize your goods and impose a monetary penalty. Customs will give you information that details the seized items, why they were seized and the amount of any civil penalty.

You may appeal customs decisions regarding duty or penalties, or the amount of the penalty, within 30 days of the date of the Civil Penalty Notice. However, before Customs will review your case, you must first pay any outstanding duty due.

Customs officers expect to do their job with the co-operation and support of the travelling public. Officers have the right to stop, question and check travellers for banned or restricted goods and for the protection of the revenue. Officers are authorized to seize any smuggled or undeclared goods and to impose civil penalties for customs infractions.