Guide on VAT and GST

What’s an import duty?

An import duty is the amount assessed by customs authorities at the border based for an import. The duty is calculated based on the tariff (See Guide on HS Codes) and the value of the imported good plus costs, insurance and freight (shipping).

What kinds of taxes are collected at the border?

Sales tax, value added tax (VAT), and goods and services tax (GST), are all levied at borders. These taxes, which are also applied within the domestic economy, are levied on the importer as well. They generally are a set additional charge on the price. It is important to understand the type and amount of taxes applied in an economy before you export.

Sales tax is applied only at the final sale of a finished good or service.

VAT or GST is applied at each point in the production or distribution cycle, starting with raw materials and finishing with the final retail purchase. Although every purchaser pays VAT, businesses can deduct the amount of VAT paid to other firms leaving the burden on the final consumer, just as with sales tax.


  1. FedEx has a video and information on how duties and taxes are calculated online.
  2. VAT/GST by Country: More than 140 countries worldwide levy a VAT. Each country has its own VAT, so it is important to research and consider it as part of the cost for shipping abroad. Visit the USCIB for more.