Issue with duty assessed on visitor

| 24/08/2016

A visiting relative was stopped by customs at the airport and asked to pay duty on some baby clothes gifts she purchased for her granddaughter, only four items of clothing worth less than US$100. Is this correct? I thought on the white form given to us on the plane it says you can purchase items up to CI$350?

Auntie’s answer: You are correct that the form says you can purchase up to $350 worth of items overseas without paying duty, but that only pertains to residents of Cayman, not visitors, and the assessment of any duty is at the discretion of the customs collector.

I asked the Customs Department for clarification of your question and was told that visitors to Cayman “must declare the total value of ALL gifts … and any article which they are intending to leave or consume in the islands”.

In reference to the specific situation you described, the official said, “If duty was applied, which is discretionary for the primary officer, he/she would be correct in so doing, because the relief relates to CI residents not visitors. The question is whether a visitor to the island might reasonably be expected to bring into the island baby clothing purchased as a gift whilst on a vacation trip as a visitor? If it isn’t, the goods are therefore dutiable in nature.”

I did point out that the visitor was a grandmother bringing in baby clothes for her grandchild but the answer was the same — that the customs officer could decide to assess duty on the gift since the person entering Cayman was not a resident.

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Are your from here? OK, so your point is what exactly?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just love this “the customs officer could decide to assess duty “. Another “wedding dress” story.

    Discretionary power must be used reasonably, impartially and avoiding oppression or unnecessary injury.

    • concerned visitor says:

      At least she was not arrested, fined and jailed for bringing a gift to her grand-daughter! This is one of many stories from visitors reporting harassment from Cayman customs officers recently. My advice – leave the gifts at home.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to “tax free” Cayman!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to Caymankind.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Are residents allowed to bring gifts?

  6. Anonymous says:

    While Grannie is stopped to pay duty on $100 worth of baby clothes, drugs and guns are pouring in….ridiculous!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought guns were duty free, hundreds come in but I’ve never heard of anyone paying import duty.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just read the customs form