There are two categories of household effects:
(a) Items, which are in the use and possession of the passenger for at least one (1) year - No duties and taxes
are payable. Any passenger can benefit from this measure, in accordance with item 6(b) of the Second
(b) Items which are owned by a returning national residing abroad for at least five (5) years. Conditions for
exemption from duties and taxes on household effects for a returning national
are summarized below:
- Must have resided abroad continuously for at least five (5) years and returning home to reside permanently,
in accordance with item 6(c) of the Second Schedule;
- The household effects are for his personal use and not for sale or exchange;
- The household effects must be imported within two (2) months before or after the arrival of the returning
national or such further period as the Comptroller of Customs and Excise may allow in any special
circumstances in accordance with item 6(d) of the Second Schedule;
- Exemptions apply to one householder per family.
Definition of Household Effects:
The term ‘household effects’ shall include items as air conditioning units, bedding,
carpets, clocks, crockery, glassware, cutlery, electrical fans, furniture, record players, household electrical
appliances, irons, kitchen and other domestic utensils, lamps, lanterns, household linen, perambulators, pianos,
pictures, sewing machines, silver and plated ware, stoves and electrical cooking and heating apparatus, tape
recorders, lap-top computers and other like articles.
*Motor vehicles, building materials, and foodstuff are excluded.*
(B) Relief from Customs Duties and Taxes
Full relief of Customs Duty and VAT is granted to household effects of a Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value not exceed two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00TT). However, where the CIF value exceeds two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00TT), the goods allocated to the excess will attract the respective rates of customs duties and VAT plus ten percent (10%) in Special Tax.
In order to benefit from tax concessions, the Returning National needs to:-
- Provide proof of residence abroad, e.g. passport. employment records;
- Provide proof of ownership of vehicle, e.g. registration certificate;
- Provide an affidavit sworn before a local Commissioner;
- Present two (2) passport-size pictures;
- Present a Customs Declaration Form in person and attest in writing that the legal requirements have been
Note: Continuous residence abroad by a returning national shall not be affected by temporary visits to Trinidad and Tobago for periods not exceeding three (3) months in each of the five (5) years immediately prior to his return to Trinidad and Tobago to reside permanently.
A licensed Customs Broker/Clerk will be required to prepare the Customs Entry.
Customs official accepts the Customs Entry, Customs Duty, Motor Vehicles Tax, VAT and Special Tax (Household
effects) where it applies will be made payable to the Customs and Excise Division.
Heavy penalties are imposed for false declarations.
The above generally describes
the tax concessions from which a returning national may benefit, and are provided for general information.
However, discussions in this article must not be substituted for law.