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How To Make Use Of Exigency Order For Hurricane Supplies

BUSINESSES interested in selling duty-free and VAT-free qualified goods during the designated hurricane recovery period of 180 days from the passing of Hurricane Matthew are invited to make an application to the Hurricane Relief Section of the Customs Department by completing the required Customs form. Upon approval of such application, businesses would be permitted to make duty-free and VAT-free sales to qualifying customers.

Businesses are required to ensure that customers submit NEMA application forms with NEMA authorised signatures and copies of identification before duty/VAT-free sales are finalised.

Forms are to be submitted monthly along with sales invoices to the Department of Inland Revenue through the online tax administration system for verification. In cases where Customs duties have already been paid, businesses can also apply for the refund of duty previously paid. Businesses are encouraged to contact NEMA or Bahamas Customs Hurricane Relief Section if clarification or additional information is required.

Individuals qualifying under the exigency order and purchasing building materials, electrical, plumbing fixtures and materials, household furniture, furnishings, appliances and generators may make purchases from local business and may do so without prior approval from NEMA if purchases are less than $10,000.

Individuals must submit a properly completed NEMA form to the merchant at the time of purchase. For purchases of more than $10,000, NEMA approval as noted by a NEMA authorised signature, is required.

Individuals importing goods and applying for duty and

VAT exemption

Individuals who qualify under the exigency order will be allowed to import goods valued at $3,000 or less without NEMA approval once they accompany their goods and complete a NEMA application and a C18 Customs form (accompanied baggage form). In these instances, Department of Customs officials will be able to provide approval at the border.

Individuals who qualify under the exigency order and are importing goods on a Customs form C13 Home Consumption form may do so without prior approval from NEMA provided the value of the goods being imported is less than $10,000. In these instances, individuals must complete a NEMA verification of damage and request form for the replacement of building materials, electrical, plumbing fixtures and materials, household furniture, furnishings, appliances and generators.

A Customs officer of a rank no less than superintendent will be responsible for approving the release of the qualified goods at the border. Individuals seeking to import goods under the exigency order on more than one occasion will be required to obtain prior approval from NEMA.

In all other instances and for the importation of motor vehicles, NEMA approval will be required prior to the clearance and release of the goods. Please note that the NEMA verification and replacement request form for damage motor vehicle form must be completed.

Businesses importing goods

Businesses that suffered damage and wish to access duty and VAT benefits under the exigency order for foreign and local purchases should have a valid tax identification number (TIN) and must obtain prior approval from NEMA before the clearance and release of goods.

Clothing is not covered by the exigency order and is considered a relief good. Duty and VAT free importation of clothing is subject to the approval of the Ministry of Finance. Such approval would only be granted prior to the arrival of the goods.

Individuals and businesses found guilty of fraud will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

All approvals would be subject to the post release review by Customs, NEMA and the Department of Inland Revenue.

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