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Premier: Act modernises Customs

Legislators have updated the Revenue Act with a host of provisions which brought it into the 21st Century.

But one key change is that goods brought back into Bermuda will no longer be subject to additional duty.

Currently, goods reimported into Bermuda are subject to duty again if they are reimported after five years.

Premier and Finance Minister

Paula Cox said: “The Bill also contains measures that enhance and modernise key sections of Customs law that provide duty relief for goods brought back into Bermuda and that regulate search of suspected persons.”

The Opposition One Bermuda Alliance had no objections to the amendments.

Besides repealing obsolete provisions, the bill clarifies the role of warehouse keepers and operators of customs-controlled storage facilities, Ms Cox said.

“In summary, amendments to the principal Act and the repeal of the Sufferance Warehouse Act 1875 and the Ireland Island Freeport Act 1956 are required so that Customs may permit pre-declaration customs supervision to be carried out outside the boundaries of the Corporation of Hamilton and St George’s; establish a clear legal basis for the operation of inland clearance facilities under customs supervision; establish a clear legal basis for the provision of facilities to HM Customs at ports airports and inland clearance facilities; and ensure that proper security is in place to protect the revenue,” the Premier said.

The bill also gives Customs broader discretion as to how goods deemed abandoned to the Government should be disposed of.

And it gives Customs officers additional stop and search powers.

“Currently, staff of terminal operators and warehouse keepers in customs areas (e.g. Stevedoring Services, BAS/ASB) are not obliged to heed the directions of a customs officer unless it is in relation to a search of a person. Customs officers have no control of terminal operator staff in relation to cargo,” the Premier said.

“Accordingly the Bill makes appropriate amendment to provision concerning search of suspected persons to include search of suspected cargoes.

“In this way a customs officer who suspects that any member of staff of a terminal operator has under his control any uncustomed goods, he or she will have authority to search those goods and give appropriate directions to effect or facilitate the inspection.”

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Published February 13, 2012 at 7:00 am (Updated February 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm)

Premier: Act modernises Customs

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