There are two types of duty chargeable within the Bailiwick of Guernsey. These are Excise Duty and Import Duty (also referred to as Customs Duty).
A duty of customs (known as "import duty") is charged in accordance with relevant Customs Law when goods are imported into the Bailiwick. Subject to the provisions of the Customs Law, because Guernsey is in a Customs Union with the UK, Jersey and Isle of Man, no customs duties are charged in respect of goods imported directly into the Bailiwick from those places, when:
- Those goods were wholly obtained in the UK, Jersey, or the Isle of Man,
- All liability to customs duties in respect of their import into the UK, Jersey, or the Isle of Man, has been discharged.
All other goods imported into the Bailiwick may be liable to import duty, this includes goods from the European Union ("EU") and third countries (Rest of the world).
Goods arriving from the EU may be subject to preferential rates of duty, which in most cases will be zero, but only when the goods originate in the EU. Goods that do not meet the Rules of Origin, and therefore do not originate in the EU, are subject to import duty (despite having been dispatched from an EU country). A full customs declaration will need to be completed for all goods imported from outside the Customs union.
To establish how much import duty is payable on an item, use the UK Global Tariff, which can be found at www.gov.uk/trade-tariff
To work out how much duty is payable on goods imported from the USA you can use the following example:
Value of the goods + shipping cost from USA to UK (first port of call in customs territory) x duty rate = duty to be charged
Excise duty is applied to alcohol, tobacco and some fuels imported into or manufactured in the Bailiwick. Excise duty is set by the States of Guernsey in accordance with local government requirements. The rates are reviewed annually by the States of Guernsey and set at budget time, which is usually in October. They cover Guernsey and Alderney; Sark sets its own rates via the Chief Pleas.