How is Import Tax Calculated?

Lucas61

Active member
Jun 13, 2014
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retired English teacher (30 years)
Every month I receive stuff from the U.S. via Vimenpaq. I always stay below the redline of USD $200.00 so as not to trigger a side trip (of my merchandise) to Customs. Until now. What a bummer. I bought a C-mount for my microscope for $339.00 USD. First, it languished at La Aduana aduanas.gob.do for two weeks before I heard anything from Vimenpaq. Now I find I have to pay a whopping (for me) RD$ 4,145.79 import tax as well as go to BanReservas to make my payment, send the receipt back to Vimenpaq, etc. That tax is 20% of the value of my item.

For future reference, when I am "forced" to buy something from the U.S. > $200.00, does anyone know how this tax is calculated? I combed through the website and I could not find a formula.

Like I said, what a bummer.
 

josh2203

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Dec 5, 2013
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I can't help you with your question but I have a strict rule not to buy anything that passes $200 USD via a courier. Via mudanza, a different story. We once needed a nice camera for a graduation and I asked for a quote from BMCargo... The aduanas would have doubled the price we had paid to the´vendor... No thanks...

In the beginning of this year, we ordered quite a few books for our eldest to read... Aduanas took those for a couple of weeks as they thought we were going to resell them... At that point, I realized that what goes in their minds, there's really no hope...Of course, anything pricy cannot possibly be for educational purposes, it has to be to resell it... The value of the package was way below $200 but as it was heavy, they did not want to believe that...
 
Feb 7, 2007
7,857
516
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Every month I receive stuff from the U.S. via Vimenpaq. I always stay below the redline of USD $200.00 so as not to trigger a side trip (of my merchandise) to Customs. Until now. What a bummer. I bought a C-mount for my microscope for $339.00 USD. First, it languished at La Aduana aduanas.gob.do for two weeks before I heard anything from Vimenpaq. Now I find I have to pay a whopping (for me) RD$ 4,145.79 import tax as well as go to BanReservas to make my payment, send the receipt back to Vimenpaq, etc. That tax is 20% of the value of my item.

For future reference, when I am "forced" to buy something from the U.S. > $200.00, does anyone know how this tax is calculated? I combed through the website and I could not find a formula.

Like I said, what a bummer.

18% VAT (which is not an import tax but a VAT - ITBIS).
The import taxes are calculated as CIF (cost of goods + insurance + freight) as base product cost.
Then, you have a Gravamen (import tax) which only some of the articles pay and it ranges between 2 and 14 percent, but most common articles has 0% import tax. This is CIFT (CIF + import tax) base. Then if a Selective tax applies (alcohol, cigarettes, luxury items, etc.), the Selective tax is applied over the CIFT base. This makes it CIFTS. Then finally, a VAT tax (ITBIS) of 18% is applied over the CIFTS base.

For goods that pay no T and S, only ITBIS is applied.

In your case only ITBIS was applied and the calculation is correct. Remember there is a DUA fee and fee passed on value and weight of goods, that's where the 500 pesos additional cost comes from.

But from what I seen calculation was done correctly. You will also most likely also need to pay a customs handling fee to Vimenpaq up to 2000 pesos.
 
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Feb 7, 2007
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In the beginning of this year, we ordered quite a few books for our eldest to read... Aduanas took those for a couple of weeks as they thought we were going to resell them... At that point, I realized that what goes in their minds, there's really no hope...Of course, anything pricy cannot possibly be for educational purposes, it has to be to resell it... The value of the package was way below $200 but as it was heavy, they did not want to believe that...

Your story about books makes no sense because books pay no ITBIS, tax or anything when imported.
 

josh2203

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Dec 5, 2013
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Your story about books makes no sense because books pay no ITBIS, tax or anything when imported.
Yet they were taken by aduanas for 3+ weeks... I fully agree, that made no sense... Invoices were provided from the start, no difference...
 
Feb 7, 2007
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Yet they were taken by aduanas for 3+ weeks... I fully agree, that made no sense... Invoices were provided from the start, no difference...
I think problem was not with Aduanas but with the courier and their customs handling process.
 

beeza

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Nov 2, 2006
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I think problem was not with Aduanas but with the courier and their customs handling process.
I agree. I use EPS who have their own agents at aduanas. They do all the negotiation and payment on your behalf. The bill goes onto your normal shipping bill. No requirement to pay direct into the govt coffers in Banreservas. They also know the rules, probably better than the customs officials.

New administration means new govt officials, eg aduanas, immigration staff etc, and as the saying goes, the new broom sweeps clean. It will take a little more time for the these new people to settle into their roles and come up with some semblance of consistency. Until then, they will continue to make stuff up as they go along.
 
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Lucas61

Active member
Jun 13, 2014
603
24
38
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retired English teacher (30 years)
18% VAT (which is not an import tax but a VAT - ITBIS).
The import taxes are calculated as CIF (cost of goods + insurance + freight) as base product cost.
Then, you have a Gravamen (import tax) which only some of the articles pay and it ranges between 2 and 14 percent, but most common articles has 0% import tax. This is CIFT (CIF + import tax) base. Then if a Selective tax applies (alcohol, cigarettes, luxury items, etc.), the Selective tax is applied over the CIFT base. This makes it CIFTS. Then finally, a VAT tax (ITBIS) of 18% is applied over the CIFTS base.

For goods that pay no T and S, only ITBIS is applied.

In your case only ITBIS was applied and the calculation is correct. Remember there is a DUA fee and fee passed on value and weight of goods, that's where the 500 pesos additional cost comes from.

But from what I seen calculation was done correctly. You will also most likely also need to pay a customs handling fee to Vimenpaq up to 2000 pesos.
Thanks for this detailed description. This is exactly what I need.
 

FGUnsworth1

Member
Oct 18, 2003
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I can't help you with your question but I have a strict rule not to buy anything that passes $200 USD via a courier. Via mudanza, a different story. We once needed a nice camera for a graduation and I asked for a quote from BMCargo... The aduanas would have doubled the price we had paid to the´vendor... No thanks...

In the beginning of this year, we ordered quite a few books for our eldest to read... Aduanas took those for a couple of weeks as they thought we were going to resell them... At that point, I realized that what goes in their minds, there's really no hope...Of course, anything pricy cannot possibly be for educational purposes, it has to be to resell it... The value of the package was way below $200 but as it was heavy, they did not want to believe that...
I agree with josh2203. I just bought a spa from Amazon and had it shipped to my Miami EPS address and forwarded it here. Aduanas asked to see the invoice for what I paid for it and where it was manufactured. They charged me the exact amount in duties as I paid for the product and then of course there are the EPS shipping fees on top of that as well. Next time I will just buy two of everything and just give one to the Aduanas.
 
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JD Jones

Moderator - Covid 19 in DR & North Coast
Jan 7, 2016
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I agree with josh2203. I just bought a spa from Amazon and had it shipped to my Miami EPS address and forwarded it here. Aduanas asked to see the invoice for what I paid for it and where it was manufactured. They charged me the exact amount in duties as I paid for the product and then of course there are the EPS shipping fees on top of that as well. Next time I will just buy two of everything and just give one to the Aduanas.

This happened to me as well when I purchased a replacement compressor for my TGM A/C. (You know, the one that's so good and easy to find parts)

The taxes and courier costs were more than the cost of the compressor.

I was surprised because DOMEX is really good with product descriptions (ahem) to avoid paying a lot of tax. This was one of just a few times it didn't happen.
 
Feb 7, 2007
7,857
516
113
This happened to me as well when I purchased a replacement compressor for my TGM A/C. (You know, the one that's so good and easy to find parts)

The taxes and courier costs were more than the cost of the compressor.

I was surprised because DOMEX is really good with product descriptions (ahem) to avoid paying a lot of tax. This was one of just a few times it didn't happen.
8414.30.91 should have paid only 18% ITBIS if value was over 200 USD. But the compressor is heavy, so the freight cost is very high. You should have sent it by ocean freight, 2 weeks transit but total cost around 50 USD for door delivery.
 
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josh2203

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Dec 5, 2013
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I think problem was not with Aduanas but with the courier and their customs handling process.
I don't know where the issue was, could be either... What I do know is that whenever a package might seem to be over valued, BMCargo asks for an invoice before the package even leaves Miami, and so they did here as well... When I received the package, it also had a very nice stamped and signed document from BMCargo to Aduans asking for expedited processing as value was clearly less than $200... They had also the contents clearly marked as books, so if you say that (I did not in fact know this) books pay no taxes etc., and BMCargo told Aduanas that the value is way less than $200, why did they spend all that time with the package...
 

JD Jones

Moderator - Covid 19 in DR & North Coast
Jan 7, 2016
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8414.30.91 should have paid only 18% ITBIS if value was over 200 USD. But the compressor is heavy, so the freight cost is very high. You should have sent it by ocean freight, 2 weeks transit but total cost around 50 USD for door delivery.
Yep, Know that. I'm in the freight business. Next time I'll just buy a new A/C and be done with it.
 

windeguy

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Jul 10, 2004
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This happened to me as well when I purchased a replacement compressor for my TGM A/C. (You know, the one that's so good and easy to find parts)

The taxes and courier costs were more than the cost of the compressor.

I was surprised because DOMEX is really good with product descriptions (ahem) to avoid paying a lot of tax. This was one of just a few times it didn't happen.
JD, that was pre-COVID. Parts for just about anything are in short supply. Entire TGM AC units are hard to get. Hey, I had a compressor fan go a day before warranty was out on one TGM unit, and didn't get to call it in until the next day. Finding that fan locally was not easy. It happens.

My experience with imports is that results vary if you just wing it. I learned the hard way to always get a firm fixed price door to door quotes for anything I suspect could be questioned at Aduanas
.
And to ship by ocean if that works better.