Cuba Slaps Excise Duty on Private Imports

September 5, 2012 Taxation in Cuba

Cuba import taxHAVANA – Cuba has imposed a new tax on goods brought into the country by individuals, but local businesses are saying that the change will only damage the economy and stifle small businesses.

From September 3rd 2012 all travelers coming into Cuba will face excise duties of CUP 10 per kilogram of commercial goods that they bring into the country.

The new tax will also apply to all foreign tourist visiting Cuba and also to Cuban nationals who have left the country more than once in a 12 months period.

Foreign tourists coming into Cuba are allowed to bring in 30 kilograms of items for resale without facing taxes, but will be required to pay the new excise duty on all goods above the weight limit.

Cuban nationals are granted a once-a-year pass to bring in goods and be charged a reduced rate of CUP 0.5 per kilogram, but will face the increased duty on all subsequent trips out of the country.

According to the government of Cuba, the new tax is targeted at individuals who make frequent trips between Cuba and neighboring countries, bringing with them masses of foreign items for personal use or to be resold by private businesses.

The tax is intended to reduce the country’s reliance on these unofficial imports, and encourage individuals to purchase locally made products.

Owners of small businesses in Cuba have decried the new duty, claiming that it will seriously dampen the national economy and will effectively be a self-imposed embargo on the country.

Photo by Ed Yourdon