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Old 14-03-2014, 20:47   #46
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

And the moral of the story is know the rules before you go.........

I got booted off a flight because my passport didn't quite have enough leeway time. That cost me $1100 for a whole new ticket with nothing to show for it.
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Old 15-03-2014, 08:25   #47
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

When I had a part flown into Georgetown 2 years ago it was explained to me that the only parts that would be exempt would be those parts that were necessary to operate the boat. For instance, propellers are exempt, radios are not.
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Old 15-03-2014, 09:42   #48
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

We had a replacement solar panel sent to us in Georgetown. When we went to the airport to pick it up, we took the old panel to show customs and put it back in the box to be returned to the U.S. manufacturer. The Customs agent told us we had to pay duty anyway. We went out to the car and sat to wait for the shift change. We saw that Customs officer leave and we went back in to the next shift. They said, "no problem", allowed us to put the broken panel in the box the new one came in, label it and make arrangements for it to go back on the plane. This is the Bahamas. No two experiences are going to be the same, no matter what the regulations say. it depends on who is interpreting those regulations. Chuck
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Old 24-03-2014, 06:06   #49
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

Just for the record, flew into NAS then GGT last week.
Was late getting into NAS so got a porter to take us to our connecting flight to GGT. He simply told customs we were running late and they just waved us through without checking anything!
So......a few dollars to a porter may be well worth it.
The problem is there were many things I wanted to bring down but got cold feet reading these posts.
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Old 24-03-2014, 06:32   #50
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
We had a replacement solar panel sent to us in Georgetown. When we went to the airport to pick it up, we took the old panel to show customs and put it back in the box to be returned to the U.S. manufacturer. The Customs agent told us we had to pay duty anyway. We went out to the car and sat to wait for the shift change. We saw that Customs officer leave and we went back in to the next shift. They said, "no problem", allowed us to put the broken panel in the box the new one came in, label it and make arrangements for it to go back on the plane. This is the Bahamas. No two experiences are going to be the same, no matter what the regulations say. it depends on who is interpreting those regulations. Chuck
You hit it square on the head, Chuck. We've had similar experiences in the Turks and Caicos, which are just really the southern tip of the Bahamas in many ways. Not politically, but certainly in approach and attitude. the rules are flexible. These societies are based upon extended families, and the same rules do not apply equally to everyone. It can be a subtle thing, but worth thinking about. IF you can get a local person on your side in a situation, you're way ahead of the North American standing there with the regs in hand and demanding that they be followed.

The story about the porter is a good example of that. The local guys know the ways through the mazes that work for them. And money talks. It just needs the right person listening. Americans seem to be terrible at handling the small transactions that smooth these things through, too. We want to wave the paperwork and demand our rights and refuse to work with what we think of as a "bribe". It's better to think of it as a lubricant.
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Old 24-03-2014, 06:49   #51
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

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You hit it square on the head, Chuck. We've had similar experiences in the Turks and Caicos, which are just really the southern tip of the Bahamas in many ways. Not politically, but certainly in approach and attitude. the rules are flexible. These societies are based upon extended families, and the same rules do not apply equally to everyone. It can be a subtle thing, but worth thinking about. IF you can get a local person on your side in a situation, you're way ahead of the North American standing there with the regs in hand and demanding that they be followed.

The story about the porter is a good example of that. The local guys know the ways through the mazes that work for them. And money talks. It just needs the right person listening. Americans seem to be terrible at handling the small transactions that smooth these things through, too. We want to wave the paperwork and demand our rights and refuse to work with what we think of as a "bribe". It's better to think of it as a lubricant.
It is a bribe, pure and simple, I live in Thailand, corruption is rampant, hell, most of the world is ripe with corruption, but there is absolutely nothing that you can do about it, so it's either play the game by there rules or go home. It's the people that have not been outside the US very much that believe that they can bring the US with them, they couldn't be more wrong.

Sam
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Old 24-03-2014, 07:08   #52
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

Many time do to my job I'm flying to different places to fix aircraft, of course carrying expensive parts.
I just got from Argentina where I replaced a fuel control on a turbine engine, part cost approx $30,000. I carried it in a suitcase. Often you can pay for "ground handling". In this case our ground handler took us essentially by the hand and led us through the Diplomat line, he took our passports, did all the talking, we just stood there and smiled, nothing was checked and no questions were asked.
This is a company I have used in the past for ground handling Colt International® - Trip Support, Flight Planning, Jet Fuel
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Old 24-03-2014, 09:35   #53
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

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Originally Posted by SKG56 View Post
It is a bribe, pure and simple, I live in Thailand, corruption is rampant, hell, most of the world is ripe with corruption, but there is absolutely nothing that you can do about it, so it's either play the game by there rules or go home. It's the people that have not been outside the US very much that believe that they can bring the US with them, they couldn't be more wrong.

Sam
And the USA is just as corrupt, just in a way that's hardly noticeable. How do politicians get so wealthy? Not from giving speeches. Looked at your utility bills lately to see all the taxes attached. 20 years ago a utility bill was only for the service. "Taxation without representation"

Instead of handing it to the guys at the customs offices it's extracted at every expenditure. This is why I use cash when it comes to big expenditures. One can bypass the middle/tax man in a lot of cases.

At least if you have family, or know someone in the overseas countries one can get off cheap or bypass the Feds.
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Old 24-03-2014, 10:30   #54
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

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And the USA is just as corrupt, just in a way that's hardly noticeable. How do politicians get so wealthy? Not from giving speeches. Looked at your utility bills lately to see all the taxes attached. 20 years ago a utility bill was only for the service. "Taxation without representation"

Instead of handing it to the guys at the customs offices it's extracted at every expenditure. This is why I use cash when it comes to big expenditures. One can bypass the middle/tax man in a lot of cases.

At least if you have family, or know someone in the overseas countries one can get off cheap or bypass the Feds.
The US certainly has her problems, yes we do have corruption, although it's not in your face at the local level, taxes, I agree, are totally out of control, there are a lot of things that have happened and are happening to our country that disappoints me greatly. I've lived outside for only about 4 1/2 years, there are both good and bad living in a 3rd world country, some of the folks I know like the lawlessness that comes with living outside, I don't like it, on the other hand it seems that the US has turned into what closely resembles a police state, also, if you maintain your citizenship, you still have to file with the IRS, even living outside. I was thinking about maybe moving back next year, but I'm not sure I could stand it for long, recently went to Guam and I really liked it, looking at Guam now very closely, it's 1st world with that 3rd world kind of feel, close to Palau, Yap, Saipan, some of the best diving in the world........ A little thread drift here, I'll end this now.

Sam
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Old 24-03-2014, 20:28   #55
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

I don't think the Bahamas customs agents are corrupt. They take there job as the primary revenue collectors seriously. If there is any doubt, they apply duty. In an unusual case like a yacht in transit, they are more likely to take advice from a local agent who understands their laws than a foreigner.

The IRS in the US also takes their role as primary revenue collectors seriously too. They deduct first and then refund later only if the taxpayer can demonstrate they have overpaid the taxes. If I have a problem in with the IRS (I file in the US and Australia) I have a lot more luck when my US accountant acts an agent for me.

The agent I used in the Bahamas was far cheaper than my US accountant. Neither are corrupt, they are just taking fair payment for a useful service rendered. How much would you want to be paid to go to your local airport to expertly represent a foreigner importing boat parts?
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Old 24-03-2014, 21:12   #56
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Re: Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

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Originally Posted by svseachange View Post
I don't think the Bahamas customs agents are corrupt. They take there job as the primary revenue collectors seriously. If there is any doubt, they apply duty. In an unusual case like a yacht in transit, they are more likely to take advice from a local agent who understands their laws than a foreigner.

The IRS in the US also takes their role as primary revenue collectors seriously too. They deduct first and then refund later only if the taxpayer can demonstrate they have overpaid the taxes. If I have a problem in with the IRS (I file in the US and Australia) I have a lot more luck when my US accountant acts an agent for me.

The agent I used in the Bahamas was far cheaper than my US accountant. Neither are corrupt, they are just taking fair payment for a useful service rendered. How much would you want to be paid to go to your local airport to expertly represent a foreigner importing boat parts?
You made some very good points in comparing the agents and accountants. I'd like to extend your comparison. Obviously the customs persons at the airports handling incoming passengers are often the younger, less experienced. The more senior are in the office and handling large shipments. Similarly when you get IRS audits, especially moderate income individuals, you often get the less experienced auditors. With less experience comes erring on the side of over-collecting and not recognizing exceptions or compromise. The general method is be unbending and charge when in doubt and then let someone else change it if need be. In dealing with less experienced IRS agents, I learned long ago not to get into arguments or debates, but to discuss it with their bosses or those at higher levels and then let them train the less experienced. Similarly, you're not going to resolve issues with custom agents at airports, especially the night and weekend crews. They are far too worried about under collecting. They often lack a firm grasp of anything beyond the basics. But the higher ranked officials will listen. And more they will listen to agents who talk the same customs language they do. Now that's why shipping items in is easier than carrying them on flights too, simply dealing with different agents with a different level of experience and knowledge. And even better if you use agents to clear items for you. They know what will clear and how to do it. Again, no different than using professionals to deal with the IRS. I can deal effectively with the IRS but I got my tax accounting start in my father's office as a child and was dealing with them before I was 18. On the other hand, I'd never personally try to negotiate a resolution to a dispute with a Bahamas custom agent. I would choose to have someone expert do that for me.

And as someone whose company did lots of importing, I can assure you that dealing with US customs is equally difficult. We were constantly paying one amount initially and then getting refund checks back later. It never went the other way, paying one amount and then getting billed more later. The practice was "when in doubt charge the higher amount and if it's not right, then they'll get it back later."
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