No lover of make-up would consider lipstick a nonessential. "It is painfully obvious," says Shepstone & Wylie customs attorney Taryn Hunkin, "that a man is setting the rate of duty for lipstick."
International lipstick brands are slapped with a hefty 20% customs duty, depending on where they are imported from, making the price of colourful lips far more pricey than users would like. This is because the SA Revenue Service categorises the lipsticks as a "nonessential item", which makes them subject to a levy on imported goods, usually calculated as a percentage of its value.
On top of that, all lipstick brands including the local variety are taxed 5% ad valorem customs duty, which applies to luxury or nonessential items such as perfumes and arcade games. This excludes 14% Vat.
Make-up imports were worth a staggering R985m in 2009, up from R241m in 2000. This excludes hair products, perfumes and cosmetics. Lipstick imports were valued at R75m in 2009, according to the Department of Trade & Industry.
Hunkin says high customs duty applies to most imported make-up and cosmetic products. There are some variations. Agreement with the European Union binds it to a mere 4% customs duty, while imports from SADC countries are free. But the products must be made in those countries for the reduced duty to apply. China, the US and other countries are taxed the full 20% duty.Source: Financial Mail
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