Basic Importing to Australia and NZ

Basic Importing to Australia and NZImporting to Australia

Importing to Australia, generally, does not require a license. You do need special licenses, however, for some products.

You can learn more about Australia’s prohibited goods, by visiting http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page4369.asp.

Categorizing Goods

Categorizing your goods is important to insure the right duties and tariffs will be imposed. If you’re not sure how your goods will be classified, you can rely on the Customs providing a tariff advice service. To do so, you need to apply for a tariff concession on imported goods. You want to be sure they do not have a competitive advantage with goods of Australian manufactures. To apply for a tariff concession, all you need to do is take all your supporting documentation.

Even though you apply for a tariff concession, you still have the sole responsibility of making sure your goods are categorized properly. Even though you’re broker, freight forwarder, or service provider is preparing your customs documentation, you are still responsible for it. Before you submit them to Customs, be sure to verify all the documentation. You’ll also want to be sure you keep copies of the documents for your own records.

Arrival of Goods

When your goods arrive, Customs will either relinquish the inspection or check your goods. Commercial documentation may not be necessary, but you still should keep all Customs documentation for a period of five years. Notify your broker of freight forwarder of any errors. Make a note of surplus goods, promotional materials and samples.  If you’ve ever had one, you have to submit an Australian Business Number (ABN).  This allows importers to obtain input tax credits. Goods and services tax (GST) is payable on most goods imported into Australia.

Another form of tax is the GST–Goods and Services Tax. This is payable by businesses, organizations, and private individuals whether they are registered for GST or not. If you are a GST-registered business or organization and you import goods as part of your activities, however, you may be able to claim a GST credit for any GST you pay. You do this by participating in the deferred GST scheme. The GST deferral scheme allows you to defer the payment of GST on taxable importations until the first activity statement you lodge after the goods are imported. Certain eligibility requirements need to be met in order to participate in this scheme.

Duties and Tariffs Cost

When determining the costs of duties and tariffs, it is necessary to rely on the classification code of the goods, appraisal, and country where the goods came from.  Appraisal of goods is a complicated process, therefore, it is good advice to consult a customs broker. You can also contact the Customs Information and Support Centre on 1300 363 263, or email them at information@customs.gov.au.

Importing to NZ

In importing goods to NZ, the following steps are necessary:

  • Create concise entries
  • Disburse all customs charges
  • Retain all commercial documentation for seven years and be able to present them if Customs requires them
  • Meet all legislative requirements

Categorization of Goods

As in Australia, categorizing goods imported to NZ is important and complicated, and it may be best to use a Custom broker. You are responsible for categorizing properly.  Whether you use a broker or finish the process yourself, you will need to provide certain information. This includes:

  • Purchase invoice
  • Cost of Manufacturing, Freight, and Insurance
  • A Product sample
  • Copies of Catalogues or brochures
  • Evidence of origin
  • Receipts for Proof of payment

In addition, for some items, you will also need the following:

  • A Bill of Lading or An Airway Bill
  • Invoices
  • Packing lists
  • Insurance certificates

It will also be necessary for importers to contact shipping companies, airlines, or freight forwarders to know their requirements, operating hours, and location of goods.

Help for Classification of Goods

If you are a “Newbie” to the import business, you don’t need to worry. Training programs are available through Customs. For information about these programs, send an email to cbaff@clear.net.nz.

If you’ve been in the business for some time, you may be able to finish the entry yourself. You do this through electronic means with the use of the CusWeb software. Again, remember that you are always accountable for the truthfulness of these documents. Make sure you are able to verify every detail.

Finding a Customs Broker?

If you choose to use a Customs broker and freight forwarder, you can find them the New Zealand business directories. If you want a list of affiliated CBAFF Customs brokers, you can visit www.cbaff.org.nz.

Costs of Tariffs and Duties

The tariffs and duties of your goods are determined through categorization, country of origin, and the trade agreements some countries. Duty is expressed as a percentage rate. It is calculated on the Customs value of the goods.


GST is the Goods and Services Tax. A 12.5% GST is imposed on roughly all products imported to NZ. You can pay the GST using the following amounts:

  • Customs value of the goods
  • Any import duty, anti-dumping and countervailing duties, ALAC or HERA levies payable
  • Freight and insurance costs of transporting your goods to New Zealand.

Import Entry Tax

Every commercial import entry or declaration for goods with a duty and GST liability of $50 or more is imposed with an Import Entry Transaction Fee of $25.38 (GST inclusive).

Mode of Payment

Payment methods vary. There are three options to choose from. They are:

  • Cash
  • Deferred payments (only importers with deferred accounts avail)
  • Broker deferred (only availed upon the request of agents with broker deferred accounts)


No Comments »

Leave a comment

Follow Us Facebook Twitter Youtube
Facebook Twitter Youtube