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Import Duties on Wine

Import Duties on Wine


Duties are levied on wine imported by travelers from abroad.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency sets regulations on the importation of goods, including wine entering the country. The agency requires travelers---residents and non-residents of the U.S.---to pay duties (taxes) on wine purchased abroad over a defined amount. The tax is collected when a person clears the Customs Service prior to being admitted into the U.S.

 Duty-Free Exemption
o   Each person, over the federal minimum legal drinking age of 21, is entitled to import one liter of alcohol into the U.S. duty-free every 30 days. One liter is equivalent to one bottle of wine. The wine must be for personal use or a gift to someone else. The wine must be declared on the Customs Service form along with its estimated value in U.S. currency to successfully clear Customs without paying tax.

Duties on Wine
o   All bottles of wine over the duty-free exemption are subject to duties. As of 2009, the CBP applies a 3 percent duty on the total estimated value of wine purchased over one liter as reported on your Customs form. The duty is collected when clearing Customs by Customs agents. The tax applies to all wine purchased abroad entering the U.S., even wine purchased from duty-free stores in airports and cruise terminals. The alcohol purchased from these stores is only free of duties for the country in which the purchase is made.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax
o   In addition, to the 3 percent duty applied to wine over the single liter, duty-free limit, an additional IRS tax is applied to each bottle. As of 2009, the IRS tax is 36 cents for each bottle of wine. This tax is also collected when clearing Customs.