Dominican Customs Tax

By Maria Arthur (marthur@aclaw.com)

The General Customs Administration has established the system for self- determination of the customs tax obligation. Through this system, the taxpayer of the customs tax obligation (importer, consignee, customs agent or broker) has the power to set, by itself, the quantity of the customs tax obligation. The above means that the taxpayer acknowledges the imported merchandise and proceeds to its tariff classification and establishes the tax to be paid taking as reference the taxable base, proceeding with the payment of the liquidated taxes and communicating this operation to the DGA.

Notwithstanding the above, by virtue of the power of verification, recognized under Law No. 3489, the DGA has the power to review the assessment made by the taxpayer, based in methodologies of risk- analysis, being able to amend the assessment if it finds any discrepancy between what has been declared and what has been verified.

Declaration, Recognition and Dispatch of Goods

The customs declaration constitutes the voluntary act through which the consignor or consignee of the goods submits them for dispatch to a customs regime. With the declaration, the taxpayer states, freely and voluntarily, the customs regime to which the goods will be submitted to and the acceptance of the obligations that such customs regime imposes.

Violations and Administrative Sanctions

Article 94 and 195 of Law No. 3489 provide that the importers, exporters and consignors may incur in violations, sanctioned with fines for not declaring the cargo import, by not providing the commercial invoice, not withdrawing the goods within the terms provided, by incurring in errors in valuation, quantity or weight of the goods declared in the manifest and by not presenting or not including the minimum data required for bills of lading or general manifest, among others.

On its part, article 196 of the Law No. 3489 commands the confiscation of goods and means of transportation linked to the commission of the felony of contraband typified in such law.

In the same manner, if the inspection reflects more goods than those declared in the invoice, the amount subject to tax or the quantity in excess shall be added to the manifest and the duties collected and shall impose to the importer a fine of twice the amount of taxes over the goods.

Likewise, if what is found in the inspection is of a material, composition, mix, elaboration or structure different to that declared, in addition to the fine of confiscation, a fine equal to twice the amount of taxes over the total of the bags confiscated shall be imposed.

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