clearing goods through customs

Any goods imported into Australia may be subject to Customs duty and/or GST and other taxes.

The duty is calculated on the Customs value (basically the price paid for the goods converted to Australian dollars at the date of export). The GST is calculated on the Customs value plus the cost of international transport and insurance plus the duty plus, where applicable, Wine Equalisation Tax. Add these amounts together and the GST payable would be 10% of total. Examples of how to calculate GST are provided in the Documentary Import Declaration Comprehensive Guide.

All consignments that are over $1,000 in value must be entered via an "Import Declaration". Import declarations can be communicated electronically, via the Intergrated Cargo System (ICS), or by document on Customs form B650 - Import Declaration (N10). Import declarations are subject to entry processing fees; the cost will depend on whether the declaration is electronic or documentary (manual). Schedule of Recovery Fees.

It is suggested that first time or infrequent importers engage the services of a customs broker who, in addition to completing the Import Declaration, can undertake a number of tasks associated with the import process on the importer's behalf. As a result of their online connection to Customs computer systems, brokers have access to lower processing fees, although they will charge for the services that they provide. Look under "Customs Brokers" in your local yellow pages for details of firms near you.

If you wish to clear the goods yourself, Customs will provide assistance to first time importers in the clearance of their goods. The minimum documentation required is an invoice, bill of lading/airway bill and any other papers such as packing list, insurance documents, etc. relating to the shipment. The Documentary Import Declaration Comprehensive Guide provides detailed information, advice and examples on how to complete an "Import Declaration" (Customs Form B650).

Where goods are being imported by air or sea and the total value of the consignment is $1,000 or less the goods must be cleared via a Self Assessed Clearance (SAC) declaration. There is no requirement for SAC declarations if the goods are imported by post.

There is no duty and GST applicable to SAC declarations unless the goods are alcohol or tobacco products. SAC declarations must be reported electronically. More information regarding SAC declarations. modified: 27 June, 2013 12:26 PM