There are two types of duty chargeable within the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
- Excise Duty, applied to alcohol, tobacco and some fuels imported into or manufactured in the Bailiwick
- Import Duty (also referred to as Customs Duty), applicable to goods (commodities) imported from outside the Customs Union.
Goods subject to import duty will require a commodity code and proof of origin in order to be cleared through customs. (See FIND A COMMODITY CODE information below).
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.
IMPORT DUTY PERSONAL ALLOWANCES
Personal Allowances are applicable when travelling with goods, in your luggage or vehicle and intended for personal use.
- Personal allowances when travelling on a commercial air or sea service, goods to a value of £390
- Personal Allowances when travelling by private aircraft or private vessel, goods to a value of £270
If you bring in something worth more than the limits you will have to pay import duty on the full value, not just on the value above £390 or £270.
If you are travelling as a family or group, you cannot pool your individual allowances towards one item worth more that the limit. You will have to pay duty on the full value of the item.
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 & ALLOWANCES
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.
PERSONS UNDER 17 ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE TOBACCO OR ALCOHOL ALLOWANCES.
Other tobacco 250g
over 22% by volume (spirits/strong liqueurs) 1 litre
under 22% volume (including fortified and sparkling wine, and other liqueurs) 2 litres
still table wine 4 litres
plus four extra litres of still table wine if no spirits, liqueurs, fortified or sparkling wines
beer or cider (or a combination) 50 litres
Alcohol and tobacco products in excess of the Duty Free allowances imported from countries outside the Customs Union of the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands may incur both Excise and Import duties (taxes).
WHY ARE THE PUBLIC NOT TOLD ABOUT THEIR DUTY FREE ALLOWANCE WHEN THEY PURCHASE DUTY FREE ITEMS?
It is the responsibility of every member of the public to be aware of the relevant laws and customs duties that are applicable to whatever jurisdiction or country they are travelling to.
All carriers travelling to and from the Channel Islands display the duty free allowances either on the boarding passes or in their individual on-board/in flight magazines. Allowances are also prominently displayed at all points of sale.
In addition, notices advising the public of their allowances are posted in the arrival halls at the airport and harbour.
Visitor travel - UK
When to declare goods to UK customs