DutyCalculator Help Center
Import taxes explained
- The basics of import duty and taxes
- How to calculate import duty and taxes
- Who prepares the customs declaration
- Who pays import duty and taxes
- Minimum thresholds
- When to pay import duty and taxes
- Handling or brokerage fees
- Example calculation - golf clubs from China to USA
- Example calculation - guitar & amp from USA to UK
- Example calculation - laptop and dress from UK to Canada
- Special cases
- About DutyCalculator
- Tariff classification guidelines
How to work out import duty and taxes
When importing an item, you may be charged import duty, sales tax, and possibly other taxes or customs charges.
Import duty calculation
In most cases, import duty is calculated as a percentage of the customs value of the import (ad valorem duty). The customs value varies by country. The duty rate depends on the product classification.
In some countries the customs value is based on the FOB value:
Duty = duty % x product price
In most countries the customs value is based on the CIF value:
Duty = duty % x (product price + cost of shipping + cost of insurance)
Import duty can also be calculated based on a unit of measure, for instance weight, dimensions, etc. (specific duty):
Duty = $X per kg/liter/piece
Typically, most countries use a combination of ad valorem and specific duties.
Sales Tax calculation
Sales tax (VAT, GST, etc.) is calculated as a percentage of the customs value plus the duty paid. Some countries may also factor other taxes, if applicable, in the calculation of sales tax:
Sales tax = sales tax % x (CIF value + duty)
Many countries have a standard sales tax rate to which most imports are subject, but a reduced sales tax rate may apply to certain goods like basic foodstuffs, medicines, books, etc. In some cases a higher sales tax rate may apply to certain products, e.g. alcoholic beverages.
Additional taxes or customs charges may apply on imports. Some examples are:
- Excise duty is commonly levied on alcohol, tobacco and fuel products.
- Consumption tax may be levied by some countries on luxury goods.
- Environmental tax is applied by some countries on imports of vehicles, plastics, etc.
- Clearance/entry fees may be charged by customs to cover admin costs.
Certain countries have set minimum thresholds below which no import duty and/or VAT is due.
Related topics: Example calculation - import duty & taxes for a set of golf clubs , Example calculation - import duty & taxes for a guitar and amp , Example calculation - import duty & taxes for laptop and dress