Monday, January 6, 2014
Duty Free Texas Style
Sailing From Galveston?
Know Before You Go
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has begun collecting personal importation taxes on alcohol and cigarettes from passengers returning from cruises in Galveston as of this month.
If you purchase liquor or cigarettes during your cruise, you may have to pay importation taxes when you return to port in Galveston.
It doesn't matter if you purchased the items on board the ship or while in one of the ports of call.
According to the press release issued by the TABC, Section 107.07 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code, in effect for over 40 years, requires that each adult (21 years old and over) importing alcoholic beverages into the state for personal consumption pay the state tax and an administrative fee of $3.00. The law limits personal importation by an adult to once every 30 days with limits of: 1 gallon of distilled spirits, 3 gallons of wine, and 288 ounces of malt beverages (24 12-ounce containers). Persons importing alcoholic beverages must personally accompany the product as it enters the state. View the detailed list of the taxes for both cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.
TABC operates several collection points along the Texas / Mexico border but Galveston is the first seaport to set up shop for collecting the taxes. Plans call for the port of Houston-Bayport later in the fall of this year as well.
Once passengers clear U.S. Customs, they can pay the tax to TABC personnel via cash or credit card. The agency says they have worked with port officials to make sure the process doesn't disrupt port operations.
Note that these taxes are in addition to any tax imposed due U.S. Customs. For more information about allowances, see the U.S. State Department website (Customs Duty Information).