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Duties and Tax Exemption

The role of the Belize Customs and Excise Department is to develop and implement an integrated set of policies and procedures that ensure increased safety and security, as well as developing the necessary platform to promote effective trade facilitation and revenue collection.

For contact information regarding government custom authorities, please follow these links:

 www.customs.gov.bz

4.1 Belize Government Contact List

 

Emergency Response

Agreements / Conventions Description

Ratified by Country?

WCO (World Customs Organization) member

Yes, 22/04/2008

Annex J-5 Revised Kyoto Convention

No

OCHA Model Agreement

No 

Tampere Convention (on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations)

No

Regional Agreements (on emergency/disaster response, but also customs unions, regional integration)

Yes, CARICOM 01/04/1974, UN 25/09/1981


Exemption Regular Regime (Non-Emergency Response): 

For UN agencies, when importing goods during non-emergency times, exemption is based on the United Nations Development Programme Standard Basic Assistant Agreement signed between the United Nations and Belize. The Belize-based UN agencies such as UNDP, UNICEF etc. (depending on whether it is food items or living supplies such as tents or netting) certifies the goods are for use within the terms of the agreement and affix the stamp of the organization, and an authorized signature is submitted on the Customs declaration, the exemption is granted.  

The Ministry of Finance is the Government department with responsibility for implementing its economic and fiscal policies and procedures, which include granting of duty exemption for humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid that is imported by the churches and other organizations (NGOs) for distribution to people in Belize are granted exemption by the Ministry of Finance.

The Customs Tariff and Trade Classification, Laws of Belize, Chapter 48 Section 3 (2) of 2013, Revised Edition2000 also contain a list of Conditional Duty Exemptions which are used when importing items such as humanitarian aid by the Red Cross (Conditional Duty Exemption No.14). It must be noted that the Red Cross must also get an approval from the Ministry Of Finance.

These NGOs and non-NGOs wishing to import humanitarian aid will need to submit a letter requesting exemption and in the body of the letter must state the description and quantity of items imported. The organization must submit a copy of legal certificate to operate as a NGO (whether it is a national organization or international donor)/non-NGO and must provide short explanation of the objectives of the organization.  

NGO’s that are allowed to operate as such within the country according to the Laws of Belize set out in the Non-Governmental Organization Act for Belize: http://www.belizelaw.org/web/lawadmin/PDF%20files/cap315.pdf  

In addition, the above section of the Laws of Belize also provides a list of goods that are illegible for conditional duty exemptions.

Obtaining Duty Free Status

Must apply in writing to the Ministry of Finance, and submit the list of the description and quantity of items.  Certificate of Registration, Letter from sponsor/ donor or importing organization stating objectives and nature of organization. Depending on the nature of the organization and use of the goods and what objectives the use of the goods are geared towards, will determine where the letter requesting exemption should be directed to, for example, pharmaceuticals need permit to import from the Ministry of Health.

 

Organizational Requirements to obtain Duty Free Status

United Nations Agencies

Agreements between Government of Belize and United Nations –Standard Basic Assistant Agreement. This agreement states the terms and conditions under which goods may qualify for duties and taxes exemptions. For example, food items are imported under the United Nations Development Programme and tents/netting are imported under UNICEF.

Non-Governmental Organizations

Must apply in writing to the Ministry of Finance, and submit the list of the description and quantity of items.  Certificate of Registration to operate as a NGO, Letter from sponsor/ donor organization stating objectives and nature of organization. Depending on the nature of the organization and use of the goods and what objectives the use of the goods are geared towards, will determine where the letter requesting exemption should be directed to, for example; pharmaceuticals to be granted exemption – Ministry of Finance but also to the Ministry of Health for permission to import.

Exemption Certificate Application Procedure: 

Customs is a law enforcement agency.  Exemption is granted by the Ministry of Finance and application/ request is made to the Ministry of Finance.  Organization wishing to import items under exemption will need to submit a letter requesting exemption and in the body of the letter must state the description and quantity of items submit a copy of legal certificate to operate as a registered organization (whether it’s a national organization or international donor) and also must provide short explanation of the objectives and nature of the business.  

 

Duties and Taxes Exemption Application Procedure

Generalities

Goods that fall under any of the Conditional Duty Exemption listed in the Customs & Excise Duties Act, Chapter 48 Section 3(2) in the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000 and importers who are registered to operate within the nature of the conditional duty exemption, once they meet the criteria, upon the Comptroller of Customs or otherwise where it is stated who is responsible for approving such exemption, are granted exemption once satisfied that criteria is met.  Please note that there is a list of goods that does not qualify for conditional duty exemptions and is listed thereafter the conditional duty exemptions. Any other goods intended for importation that does not fall under the conditional duty exemptions, must follow the procedure for duty exemption application and submit the documents mentioned previously under Non-emergency regular regime.

Process to be followed

Goods meeting the conditional duty exemption criteria will need to submit to the Comptroller: copy of invoice, transport document, insurance certificate, ownership certificate, and any other documents used to prove the goods are being imported for humanitarian aid/ or whatever the case may be.  It also must be signed by any other relevant authority/ or agency stated, for example, if it requires permit from Public Utilities Commission.

Exemption Certificate Document Requirements

Exemption is granted by the Ministry of Finance and application/ request is made to the Ministry of Finance.  Organization wishing to import items under exemption will need to submit a letter requesting exemption and in the body of the letter must state the description and quantity of items submit a copy of legal certificate to operate as a registered organization (whether it’s a national organization or international donor) and also must provide short explanation of the objectives and nature of the business.  

 

Duties and Taxes Exemption Certificate Document Requirements (by commodity)

 

Food

NFI (Shelter, WASH, Education)

Medicines

Vehicle & Spare Parts

Staff & Office Supplies

Telecoms Equipment

Invoice

Yes, copy can be submitted or Proforma invoice

 

Yes, copy can be submitted or Proforma invoice

Yes, copy can be submitted or Proforma invoice

Yes, copy can be submitted or Proforma invoice

Yes, copy can be submitted or Proforma invoice

AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents

      

Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates

Letter from donor and certificate of Noncommercial status is needed.  For UN agencies this is not needed since the agreement establishes this, however, director of the UN agency in Belize will need to certify that the purpose of the goods

Letter from donor and certificate of Non Commercial status is needed.  For UN agencies this is not needed since the agreement establishes this, however, director of the UN agency in Belize will need to certify that the purpose of the goods

Letter from donor and certificate of Non Commercial status is needed.  For UN agencies this is not needed since the agreement establishes this, however, director of the UN agency in Belize will need to certify that the purpose of the goods

Letter from donor and certificate of Non Commercial status is needed.  For UN agencies this is not needed since the agreement establishes this, however, director of the UN agency in Belize will need to certify that the purpose of the goods

Letter from donor and certificate of Non Commercial status is needed.  For UN agencies this is not needed since the agreement establishes this, however, director of the UN agency in Belize will need to certify that the purpose of the goods

Letter from donor and certificate of Non Commercial status is needed.  For UN agencies this is not needed since the agreement establishes this, however, director of the UN agency in Belize will need to certify that the purpose of the goods

Packing Lists

      

Other Documents

Health permits will still need to be obtained prior to importation

 

Permission to import will need to be obtained from ministry of health

  

License/ permit will be required prior to importation

Customs Clearance

General Information 

Customs Information

Document Requirements

A customs declaration must be prepared by an authorized customs broker and the following must be attached: invoice, transport document, insurance certificate, ownership or transfer of ownership certificate, packing list, if necessary, proper permit/ license

Embargoes

NONE

Prohibited Items

Laws of Belize, Chapter 49 Customs Regulation Act Section 102 and 104 – Restricted and Prohibited Goods Consolidated Order.

Prohibited Goods examples are: pornographic materials, counterfeit products,

General Restrictions

Laws of Belize, Chapter 49 Customs Regulation Act Section 102 and 104 – Restricted and Prohibited Goods Consolidated Order.

Examples of restricted goods are controlled SPECIFIC DRUGS, firearms and ammunition, specific agricultural and aquaculture products, some drinks such as aerated beverages, energy drinks, rum, etc. 

 

Customs Clearance Document Requirements

 

Customs Clearance Document Requirements (by commodity)

 

Food

NFI (Shelter, WASH, Education)

Medicines

Vehicles & Spare Parts

Staff & Office Supplies

Telecoms Equipment

D&T Exemption Certificate

UN does not need to submit.  The agreement between UN &GOB establishes the exemption.  Customs declaration provides a special customs procedure code to be used when such declaration is being made if declaration is certified and stamped by UN agency director and satisfied by the comptroller and approved as such.  Other NGO’s not having an established agreement with the GOB will be required to.  Yes, original duty exemption letter must be presented to customs when clearing goods in the case where one is issued.

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

Invoice

Yes, present Original but a scan copy must be attached to the customs declaration electronically and must be attached to hard copy for inspection purposes.  Copies are accepted provided approval by Comptroller.  [Applies to both UN and NGO]

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents

Yes, present Original but a scan copy must be attached to the customs declaration electronically and must be attached to hard copy for inspection purposes.  Applies to both UN and NGO

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates

Yes, must get copy accepted if no Original. A scan copy must be attached to the customs declaration electronically and must be attached to hard copy for inspection purposes.  Mostly for NGO

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

Packing Lists

Yes, present Original but a scan copy must be attached to the customs declaration electronically and must be attached to hard copy for inspection purposes.  Applies to both UN and NGO

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

Phytosanitary Certificate

Yes, Original, scan copy must be attached electronically to the customs declaration and applies to both UN and NGO

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

SAME

Other Documents

Yes, Original and scan copy must be electronically attached to the customs declaration.  Applies to both UN and NGO

supplies control license/ permit if needed

     

 

Transit Regime

For humanitarian goods in terrestrial transit an authorized customs broker will require a customs declaration.  A customs transit declaration must be prepared by an authorized customs broker and the following must be attached: invoice, transport document, insurance certificate, transhipment certificate (in the form of a declaration that is stamped and signed by consignee/owner/ declarant) and if any other supporting documents such as export customs declaration from previous country.  Thereafter, a Customs Transit Document - T1 is created for the shipment.  This document requires a valid guarantee in the form of an insurance bond from the declarant in order for it to be properly processed.  The container is also sealed by customs.  In addition, a customs guard must escort the shipment from point A to point B.  When the shipment arrives at point B, the seal is verified if in tack and the T1 is closed.  When the T1 is closed this releases the guarantee/ bond that was put up for the trans-shipment. 

In the case of an in-transit shipment by sea where the cargo is not destined for Belize but will change vessel, it must be manifested as such.  Likewise,  A customs transit declaration must be prepared by an authorized customs broker and the following must be attached: invoice, transport document, insurance certificate, transhipment certificate (in the form of a declaration that is stamped and signed by consignee/owner/ declarant) and if any other supporting documents such as export customs declaration from previous country.  In this case, a Customs Transit Document - T1 is not created but it requires a valid guarantee in the form of an insurance bond from the declarant in order for it to be properly processed. 

 

 

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