Many countries impose a tax, or customs duty, on some types of imported goods or items. Generally, luxury items such as jewellery, alcohol, leather goods, and perfume, are more likely to incur customs duty, and are also more likely to have higher duty rates than food and other essentials.
Duty free items are typically legally imported from their country of manufacture into the country where they are sold without paying any government tax. Many tourism destinations offer duty free shopping to visitors as it benefits local shops and encourages sales that would not otherwise happen. Duty free items are generally only available to visitors, and not residents of the country they are offered for sale in.
Purchasing duty free goods, when combined with the customs duty exemption that many returning residents are allowed when entering their home country, can result in significant savings over the normal price for the goods in one’s country of residence. In many cases, the discounts may will range from 30-50% off the typical price.
Residents and visitors to the Turks and Caicos are allowed certain customs exemptions, so it’s possible for visitors to purchase duty free items such as alcohol prior to departure from their home country, and then bring the products into the Turks and Caicos to consume during their stay. Visitors can then do the same on their return, and bring duty free items home.
On Providenciales, duty free shopping is only available at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS), due to the difficulty in ensuring that the goods sold are taken out of the Turks and Caicos. The airport is home to Jais, which features top-tier jewellery and luxury goods, and several stores which carry alcohol and tobacco products.
On the island of Grand Turk, the Cruise Center offers a decent collection of boutiques and shops, with duty free jewellery, perfumes, and luxury goods. Duty free alcohol and tobacco products are not available on Grand Turk. There are several international chain duty free shops at the cruise port, including Dufry, Diamonds International, Milano Diamond Gallery, Columbian Emeralds International, and Effy Jewellery.
Many countries allowing returning residents to bring in certain amounts of goods without incurring customs duty. There’s often a monetary value limit, in addition to an allowance of alcohol, tobacco products, and perfume.
The customs duty exemptions limits are typically detailed on a country’s customs landing card, which are filled out by arriving passengers.
US Customs and Border Protection allows (for a trip of at least 48 hours, every 30 days):
UK Border Agency allows residents to bring the following duty free:
Canada Border Services Agency allows the following (after a visit of 48 hours):