Online Buyers


Q
What are the taxable items when I buy something online?
A
Import duties and levies are applicable on all items imported into Sri Lanka.
Please refer Tariff Guide to find out applicable rates.
But,
- Personal items or gifts worth not more than 15,000/= are exempted from Customs Import Duty.
- Personal items or gifts worth not more than 10,000/= are exempted from VAT
- Samples in relation to a business worth not more than 25,000/= are exempted from VAT and Customs Import Duty.
* This is only applicable for the items which are categorized as personal items.
* Above mentioned exemptions are applicable for bona-fide personal items.
* However, All the other levies are applicable.
* more information on samples->Can I import a sample for my business without taxes?
Q
I’m going to receive something as a gift from my friend in a foreign country. Do I have to pay taxes for that?
A
Yes, any item imported into Sri Lanka is taxable, regardless of whether the cost is borne by the importer or not. Duty rates may differ depending on the item and also another license requirements are also applicable (e.g :- Drones ) Please refer Schedule B
to find out more about restricted and prohibited items.
Also Note,
- Gifts worth not more than 15,000/= are exempted from Customs Import Duty.
- Gifts worth not more than 10,000/= are exempted from VAT
Q
My package did not arrive on time. It seems to be lost. Did customs detain my package on its arrival?
A
If your package has been detained by Sri Lanka Customs you will be notified via register post by the courier service (e.g:- Postal Department, DHL, FedEx etc.) In such a case you will be notified to be present for the examination of your package by Customs Officers.
If the package contains any taxable items, the consignee will have to pay the applicable taxes to receive the package.
If the package contains restricted items, the consignee will be required to full fill the license requirements from the relevant authorities in order to release the package.
Importation of prohibited items is punishable by law.
* Important! – Sri Lanka Customs Department is not responsible for lost packages. (You may contact the courier service or the exporter for further details)
Q
What are the goods that I cannot import into Sri Lanka?
A
There are Restricted Items & Prohibited Items to import.
Importation of prohibited items is punishable by law.
The following are few examples for Prohibited Items.
- Narcotic Substances
- Any publication (printed / Digital or any other form ) considered derogatory to any religious Leader / Religion
- Pornography
More of the Prohibitions: Schedule B
Q
For what items do I need a license to import them in to Sri Lanka? What are the license authorities in Sri Lanka to obtain licenses in such cases?
A
Some items may require a license to be imported in to Sri Lanka such items are called Restricted Items. They are not prohibited but a valid license / permit is required for the importation of such items.
Following are some controlled items and a list of authorities to obtain a license to import.
- Import Control Department: List of items: Import Control Item List
- Ministry of Defense: List of Items: MOD License Items List
- Sri Lanka Standards Institute: List of Items: SLSI License Items 1
SLSI License Items 2
SLSI License Items 3
- Telecommunication Regulatory Commission: For Mobile Phones, Radio Transmitting Devices and other communication equipment.
Other authorities issuing licenses:
- Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council
- Department of Animal Product and Health (Animal Quarantine)
- Consumer Affairs Authority
- Central Environmental Authority
- National Medicines Regulatory Authority
- Department of Agriculture (Plant Quarantine)
- National Film Cooperation
Please Contact Customs help desk for further clarification.
Q
How can I know the import tax for a particular item before I buy it online?
A
All tax and duty rates can be viewed in: Tariff changes
Q
How can I find the HS Code of an item?
A
You can search & find the HS Code up to 8 digits (National tariff) from: HS Finder
Q
I received message saying that someone has sent me a gift and it has been detained by customs. It has mentioned an account number to transfer money for customs clearance. What should I do?
A
Sri Lanka customs only collect duty and tax for parcels & package only at Airports, Government Post Offices, Customs Points in Courier Services (ex: - DHL, UPS, Aramex, TNT etc..) and in UPB warehouses (ex: - Trico, Midco, Transco, Laksiri Sewa and Ceylon Shipping Lines). So, anything else can be an online scam (Internet Fraud). Please read the following notice to public on online scams: Special Notice to Public
Q
How to import goods for Commercial purposes from Postal and Courier services?
A
All Commercial Importers are required to be registered at Sri Lanka Customs and all Consignments should be declared to Customs via a Customs House Agent. Please Contact Help desk for further Clarification.
Importation of Commercial quantities without a valid declaration may be subjected to penalties or forfeiture of the consignment.
Q
Can I import a sample for my business without taxes?
A
A sample in relation to a business, worth not more than 25,000/= is exempted from VAT and Customs Import Duty.
* All other levies applicable are payable.
* The customer should be able to prove that the item is imported as a sample for business purpose.
Ex:- * The sample should be imported to the name of a registered company in Sri Lanka.
* If labeled item Should be marked as a sample and should not be labeled for re-sale.

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