The Android Customs Dilemma in Jo

The Android Customs Dilemma in Jo

A while ago I blogged about Jordan Customs and their issues with imposing customs on everything that they might as well impose customs on the air we breathe, their latest imposed customs were on movies. Sadly, I have learned a while ago as well that Jordanian customs are looking forward to imposing taxes on Android Devices, those of which include LG and Samsung devices.

In regards to the Jordan Customs division, their regulations committee has issues a change to customs to phone devices that operate on an Android Operating System; this is back in April 2011. Android phones according to Jordanian Customs are not perceived as normal mobile phones, but as smart phones with many technical aspects that should have them fall under the category of a phone, and hence, they decided that because of their multi-functionality, customs must be imposed on those devices. So where do we stand in regards to this? A phone is a phone, isn’t it? Whether it is a smart phone that is capable of connecting you to your email at all times, or a regular phone that serves the purpose of making and receiving phone calls and sending/receiving sms messages, so why the complication? Unlike mobile phones all Android devices are now subject to 16% sales tax. Well what about Blackberry and iPhone’s? They are smart phone as well, you might as well impose taxes on them? I am not saying Jordan customs should, I am just surprised that they haven’t yet, seeing as they are smart phones as well? So is it because they do not understand that Android is just an operating system that they decided that it is not a phone? I cannot understand why there is a grey area in perceiving what an Android phone is.


I have heard some news regarding one of the leading companies who produce Android Phones, Samsung in Jordan have been known to have appealed the issue with the Prime Minister, saying that since all mobile phones are not subject to sales tax, then why should Android phones be taxes? The end result of the debate was approving their appeal and, has exempted Samsung Android phones from being taxed. So supposedly, the phones won’t be taxes, the appeal has been approved and is currently in the pipe line for implementation, that of course being after a 12 weeks of debates and arguments (assuming it has been going on since April – that is just my count on things given that we have passed the mid of July and the phones are not yet available.) The new rules are expected to become effective as of August 1st and all Samsung Galaxy devices (All Android Operated) are supposed to hit the market again.



So why all the rules and regulations?? I do not seem to comprehend why Jordan customs turn everything into such a complicated matter?! I find it heart breaking that Jordan is always the last to receive technology, and I am beginning to understand that Jordan Customs has something to do with it? Why can’t we be pioneers? Why can’t we be leaders and why are we always a step behind in the region?



Director of Digital Marketing Strategy by Day, Blogger by Night. Mother to my lovely Hana and a food addict.

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  1. I don’ understand how this is a problem the Andriod, after all, is a luxury. I’m sure people who can afford an Andriod can also afford the 16% tax.

    • Hi Lana 🙂 What makes you assume that Android phones are expensive? Android is an Operating System? Just like you use Windows Operating System to run your Computer or Laptop, you use Android Operating System to run your Mobile. I beg to differ on when you said ” I’m sure people who can afford an Andriod can also afford the 16% tax.” Because it’s not necessarily a Luxury, you can find Android phones ranging from very cheap to extremely expensive, but at the end of the day, the capacity and features you get on an Android OS is better than any other phone. Have a great day 🙂

  2. Wondering why can’t we be pioneers? simply, we don’t know how to utilize our local resources and we lack planning big time, yet we are so good when it comes to imposing tax and costumes. Jordan is ranked the second globally in terms of number of imposed taxes. And by the way, Iphone, BB and Windows phones are all subject to 16% tax, as for Android, still not clear.

    Great article Lara.. thanks 🙂

  3. OMG! OMG! OMG!
    In fact, the Android system is open source so it is free and I think it is absurd to target smart devices such as so.

    please give me more info.. if u can

    thank you.. i like your blog.

  4. Back in feb2011, I have imported my device from the states, and got charged %16 at the airport customs. At that moment I had that feeling that customs will start to subject such devices to customs

    In the Galaxy S II opening Samsung & Orange declared that the problem with that is now longer existing.

    Will push myself to feel optimistic anyway hmm…!

  5. I remember ordering 200 Ubuntu CDs for uni students back in 2006 and they asked for sales tax on them although they were clearly labeled FREE NOT FOR SALE!

    I left them for the customs guy after a heated argument and told him to enjoy doing the paper work as they list them for sale in an auction (as per the law) and they never get sold…

    Heard of several customs officers who would take bribery (don’t know if it is that common), maybe he wanted ‘7alawa’ to release them? Not sure but hope he was just plain stupid rather than corrupt

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