Australian Government - Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

To protect Australia's borders and foster lawful trade and travel.

Clearing goods through Customs

You need to know that:

  • For goods that are worth equal to or under AUD1,000, there are no duties, taxes or charges to pay.
  • For goods that are worth more than AUD1,000, you will need to fill out a special form called an Import Declaration, and pay duties, taxes and charges.
  • You will need to pay duties and taxes on some goods (like tobacco or alcohol) regardless of their value
  • Certain types of goods are not allowed to be brought into Australia, or need special permits.
  • First-time or infrequent importers are strongly encouraged to use the services of a customs broker to clear their goods through customs.

What can I import?

To find out more about what you can and cannot bring into Australia, see Prohibited and restricted goods.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service may screen, x-ray or examine the goods to make sure the goods are allowed into Australia. The Department of Agriculture may also need to clear and inspect your goods before they can be cleared.

What will it cost?

How much the goods are worth, and how they arrive in Australia, will determine how we clear them and what duty, taxes and charges may apply.

Goods with a value of AUD1,000 or less

You do not have to pay duty and taxes on goods (excluding tobacco, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages) with a value of under AUD$1000. These are called low value imports.

If these goods arrive in Australia by air or sea cargo, they must have a Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) declaration. This will generally be taken care of by the cargo company. There is no charge for this declaration.

Goods arriving by post do not require a SAC declaration.

For more information, see Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) declarations.

For more information, see Importing goods by post.

Goods with a value of more than AUD1,000

To import goods with a value over AUD$1000, you need to make an Import Declaration. The Import Declaration provides information about the goods you are importing.

There is a processing charge for making an Import Declaration. You will also be required to pay the duty and taxes for your goods.

You may wish to use the services of a licensed customs broker to help you import your goods.

To find out more about how duty and taxes are calculated, visit Calculating duty and taxes.

To find out more about charges and fees, visit Import fees and charges.

To find out more about making an Import Declaration, visit Import Declarations.

What if I am a first-time or infrequent importer?

First time or infrequent importers are strongly encouraged to use the services of a customs broker.

Customs brokers can complete the Import Declaration for you and submit it to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service electronically through the Integrated Cargo System. They can also help you with other tasks you need to do when importing goods.

Customs brokers charge for the services they provide, though they also have access to lower processing fees because of their online connection to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. To find a customs broker, search online or in your local Yellow Pages. Customs brokers are licensed by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

If you want to clear the goods yourself, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service will provide limited assistance to first-time importers only. You will need:

  • an invoice
  • a bill of lading or airway bill
  • other papers, such as packing list and insurance documents, as required.

The Documentary Import Declaration Comprehensive Guide provides information on how to complete an Import Declaration.