FRIDAY, MARCH 23: New duty rates will come into force on April 1, Government announced today.

The standard 25 per cent charge on personal imports will apply to non-business goods brought in at any point of entry.

Government is to hold public information sessions to highlight the new tax system and the forms required to be filled in on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week at the Police Recreation Club at Prospect.

There will be three presentations on each day – at 10am, 11.30am and 1pm.

Special rates of duty, including zero rates, the higher rates of 33.5 per cent, 75 per cent and 100 per cent levied on some goods will remain unchanged.

A Government spokeswoman said businesses will be able to apply for the generally lower taxes on goods which qualify for business end-use relief.

The business break can be claimed for by specifying Customs procedure code 4000 in the standard Bermuda Customs Declaration (BCD) form.

The former short form version of the BCD will no longer be accepted at the Customs long rooms.

The business tax break also applies to public authorities and charities.

The spokeswoman warned that goods imported with the benefit of business end-use duty relief should not be used for personal use – with a fine of up to $12,000 or treble the value of the goods, while the items themselves can be seized by Customs officers.

Information on filling in the relevant Customs forms BCD and the short form BCD, which will still be used at the Post Office, can be found at www.customs.gov.bm.

Any questions on the standard rate of import duty, special rates or business end use relief can be sent to customs@gov.bm