Exemptions for turnover tax on import of goods 

 

  1. General

Turnover tax is an indirect tax which is levied on:

  • the import of goods;
  • the delivery of goods; and
  • services rendered by entrepreneurs who are resident or established, or have a permanent establishment, in the territory of Curacao (the “tax territory”), not including the e-commerce zones as referred to in the Ordinance economic zones 2000 (the so-called “E-zones”).

In this memo, the most relevant aspects of the turnover tax regulation in Curacao with respect to the import of goods are outlined.

 

  1. Import of goods

Turnover tax is levied on the import of all goods into the tax territory. E-zones are not part of the tax territory; consequently, the import of goods destined for an E-zone is exempt from turnover tax. The release of goods from an E-zone into the tax territory is subject to turnover tax.

The taxable value of the goods is in principle the C.I.F.[1] value. It is the value agreed upon in a free market between two independent parties to a purchase contract, including the costs relating to the sale and the delivery of goods up to the first place of discharge in Curacao. The customs authorities may determine a higher value if the value declared is considered too low.

The general turnover tax rate on the import of goods is 6%. On the import of certain goods, such as luxury goods, turnover tax is levied at a rate of 9%.

 

2.1       No turnover tax on import of goods

 2.1.1     Exemption from turnover tax on import of goods in case of resale or manufacturing

Certain exemptions from turnover tax on the import of goods apply. At the request of an entrepreneur, an exemption from turnover tax on the import of goods may be granted in cases where the goods are imported for resale[2]. For this exemption, the following should be submitted to the customs authorities:

  • a recent excerpt from the trade register of the Curacao Chamber of Commerce;
  • a business license issued by the Ministry of Economic Development, evidencing that the entrepreneur is the importer of the goods;
  • a tax identification number issued by the tax department;
  • a declaration of the Inspector of Taxes, stating that all necessary data are kept in the business administration of the entrepreneur in an organized manner;
  • a declaration signed by the entrepreneur, stating that the goods to be imported are solely trade goods; and
  • at the import of the goods, invoices, freight and cargo documents should be submitted in which the entrepreneur is shown as the importer of the goods.

No turnover tax is due in respect of the delivery of goods in the tax territory, which at the time of the delivery have not yet been released for free circulation in the open market. Such a situation may arise, for example, when goods are sold while still in a customs area.

2.1.2       Setting off turnover tax paid on imported goods

Upon request by an entrepreneur, the Inspector of Taxes may grant him permission to deduct turnover tax paid on the import of trade goods from the amount of turnover tax due in respect of the delivery of such goods.

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[1] C.I.F. can be defined as: cost, insurance and freight

[2] According to information available on the website of the Curacao Customs department, an exemption can also be obtained for goods which the importer processes, treats or assembles into a new product to be sold by him.