If you are considering a trip or cruise to the Bahamas, you might have heard about duty-free shopping. But, if you aren’t a frequent international traveler, you might be wondering, what’s the big deal with duty-free shopping?
Duty-free shopping is an opportunity to save hundreds of dollars on duty (tax) free items. We’ll introduce you to all things you need to know about duty-free shopping in the Bahamas.
What Is Duty-Free Shopping?
Duty-free shopping allows shoppers to purchase goods in one country and bring them back into their own country without paying taxes. There is a limit to the duty, and this personal exemption depends on where the item is purchased, and whether the item contains tobacco or alcohol.
There is a limit, however, to your exemption. Typically a shopper’s personal limit to exemption on duty is $800 (higher in some cases, depending on variables). This exemption also includes the local and national taxes. At the time of purchase shoppers may have to pay the local taxes, but can later apply for a refund when you arrive back in the states.
Duty-Free Shopping in the Bahamas
During your Bahamas cruise vacation, you’ll notice several duty-free shopping areas. There will be a place to shop on the ship and on the island at the Port Lucaya Marketplace in Freeport, Bahamas. These shops have your favorite American brands, selling a variety of goods like clothing, perfume, beauty items, alcohol and tobacco (on a limited basis) and much more. Many items are luxury items, meaning you can save a lot of money without waiting for a sale.
Is There A Limit On What I Can Buy?
There are a few rules and requirements it’s important to know about before buying bulk of your favorite goods.
- DutyFree.com says, ‘If you’re a U.S. citizen returning home after staying at least 48 hours in a foreign land, you typically may bring $800 of duty-free merchandise into the country. If you exceed that limit, you’ll pay a 3% surcharge on the next $1,000 worth of purchases. Those with over $1,800 of merchandise must pay a tax of up to 25% on the amount that exceeds this limit.’
- Citizens visiting less than 48 hours receive a $200 exemption
- Families can combine exemptions
- Only one liter of alcohol or up to one carton of cigarettes are allowed duty-free
Can you really get substantial savings from duty-free shopping? Well, it depends on the product. Many tourists find that the best deals are found in alcohol and luxury goods. There is an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of tourists eagerly looking to save money on electronics like phones and computers. Avoid these products, as often they are knockoffs or refurbs and not worth as much as they claim.
Overall, duty-free shopping is a great addition to your Bahamas vacation. While trying out the local food, history and culture (not to mention the amazing white sand beaches and warm blue water) give duty-free shopping a go. Armed with a little knowledge, it’s a fun way to pass the time and get some great savings.