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Import duty & taxes when importing into South Korea

Overview

Import duty and taxes are due when importing goods into South Korea whether by a private individual or a commercial entity.  The valuation method is CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight), which means that the import duty and taxes payable are calculated on the complete shipping value, which includes the cost of the imported goods, the cost of freight, and the cost of insurance.  In addition to duty, imports are subject to sales tax, education tax, STRD tax, transportation tax, special consumption tax, and in some cases to liquor tax.

Duty Rates

Duty rates in South Korea vary from 0% to 40%, with the average duty rate at 4.17%.  Some products can be imported free of duty (e.g. books).  

Sales Tax

VAT is levied on imports at a standard rate of 10% on the sum of the CIF value, duty and other taxes if applicable.  

Minimum thresholds

Imports with a CIF value up to KRW 150,000 are exempt from duty and VAT.

Other taxes and custom fees

  • Special consumption tax is charged on certain products as ad valorem at rates between 5% and 20% of the sum of the CIF value and duty.  It can also be specific, i.e. charged per unit of measure.
  • STRD (Special Tax for Rural Development) is charged on certain products at 10% of the Special Consumption tax.
  • Transportation tax is charged on some products based on quantity.
  • Liquor tax is charged on alcoholic beverages at a rate between 5% and 72% of the sum of the CIF value and duty.  It can also be specific, i.e. charged per kg.
  • Education tax is charged at rates between 10% and 30% based on Special Consumption tax, or Liquor tax, or Transportation tax, whichever is applicable.

Local Customs office and contacts

More information on import declaration procedures and import restrictions can be found at the South Korea Customs website.