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Navigating Customs and Import VAT in Egypt

Customs and import Value-Added Tax (VAT) form an essential part of any country’s economic structure, with Egypt being no exception. They influence the cost of imported goods, impact international trade, and play a crucial role in the national revenue. This article dives deep into the understanding of customs and import VAT in Egypt, providing crucial insights for businesses looking to engage in commercial activities in the country.

Basics of Customs and Import VAT

Customs duties are a form of tax levied on goods imported into a country. In Egypt, customs duties vary depending on the type and origin of goods. Import VAT, on the other hand, is a tax placed on imported goods and services. It is levied as a percentage of the taxable importation value, which includes the price of the imported goods, any customs duties, and other charges.

Determining Import VAT and Customs Duties

The calculation of customs and import VAT depends on various factors. These include the Harmonized System (HS) code of the goods, their country of origin, and their CIF value, which includes the cost of the goods, insurance, and freight. The Egyptian Customs Authority provides the official rates, which vary from one type of goods to another.

Importation Procedures in Egypt

The process of importing goods in Egypt involves several steps:

  • Preparation of Necessary Documents: These include a commercial invoice, packing list, Bill of Lading or Airway Bill, and a certificate of origin.
  • Submission of Documents: The documents are submitted to the Egyptian Customs Authority.
  • Customs Inspection: The goods are then inspected by customs officers to verify their compliance with Egyptian standards and regulations.
  • Calculation and Payment of Duties and Taxes: Once the goods have been inspected, customs duties and import VAT are calculated and must be paid before the goods can be released.
  • Goods Release: After the payment is made, the goods are released from customs control.

Understanding the Egyptian VAT System

In 2016, Egypt transitioned from a General Sales Tax (GST) to a VAT system. The VAT rate is currently set at 14%. However, certain goods and services, such as food and healthcare services, are exempt from VAT.

Dealing with Customs and VAT Issues

To effectively navigate through the complexities of customs and import VAT in Egypt, it is vital to maintain accurate records, understand the latest regulatory changes, and have a robust compliance strategy. Non-compliance can result in penalties, delays in goods clearance, and potential legal issues.


Understanding and navigating customs and import VAT in Egypt is a crucial aspect for businesses aiming to import goods into the country. With detailed knowledge of the processes and compliance with all legal requirements, businesses can ensure a seamless and efficient importation process.

Andersen Egypt, leveraging its global network and comprehensive expertise in Egyptian customs and VAT practices, is dedicated to guiding clients through each stage of this intricate process, ensuring a successful and seamless importation experience.

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Written By

Joseph Iskander - Attorney-at-law

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