Magnús Orri Schram, an MP for the Social Democrats, believes a number of reforms need to be made to Iceland’s laws on what items are charged how much in fees when imported into the country.
He pointed out on the radio yesterday that it is cheaper to toast bread vertically than horizontally, for example, because toasters are not taxed at customs but sandwich grills are. He also points out that there are customs charges on pancake griddles but not on waffle irons, and customs charges on kettles but not on coffee makers. He believes customs charges are ridiculous, and an issue people have largely ignored.
However, getting rid of the charges would be difficult right now, with the financial state the government is in. The state earned 5 billion ISK from custom charges in 2010, so if they were lifted altogether, this money would have to come from somewhere.
Magnús said that while politicians have long known how absurd and arbitrary the charges are, no one has yet gotten around to changing them, due to more important matters being on the table. However, this does not preclude being able to look at the law on customs charges and proposing changes which would make more sense.