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Australia has seen an increase in eCommerce shopping thanks to people’s change in lifestyles since the advent of COVID-19 in 2020.
If you are aiming to satisfy some of Australia’s increasing online shopping demand and minimise customs issues, 2 key things to take note of are its de minimis rate and which items you can and cannot ship into the country.
Disclaimer: This article should not be used as tax advice and is only intended to inform you on what to look out for. Please consult a tax professional to find out if you need to charge GST on your sales to your Australian online shoppers. You can find more information on GST and the cost of importing goods here.
When it comes to customs clearance and importing goods, de minimis refers to the monetary value below which imports into the country are charged lower or no duties and taxes with some shipments being duty-free.
Usually, countries’ customs facilities need to process many of these parcels daily and it would be too burdensome for them if they needed to process every single one. Parcels that are below the de minimis help countries’ customs departments manage their workloads in this case. On the other hand, tighter de minimis rates can also be used at times to deter a country’ citizens from importing too much, which was seen recently in Indonesia.
In Australia, ‘customs value’ and the ‘value used to calculate the GST’ are different:1
Customs Value – Used for calculating the ad valorem customs duty:
Value used for calculating the Goods and Service Tax:
You can get the breakdown of customs value calculations (the Jeans Co and Jewellery Co examples) here.
In Australia, shipments at or below AUD 1000, but excluding tobacco, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, are considered low value imports.2
There are generally no duties or taxes or charges to pay at the border for low value imports, but some shipments may need GST to be collected by overseas vendors of these low value imports at the point of sale and not at the border. The Australian Taxation Office provides examples of when taxes are collected at the border or at the point of sale here.3
From 1st July 2018, 10 percent Goods and Sales Tax (GST)4 may apply to these goods when they are bought by Australians online from an overseas vendor at the point of sale.5 Based on information from the Australian Border Force and Australian Taxation Office:6
There are GST exemptions for certain products. You can find exemptions lists and more on the Australian Taxation Office’s website.11
For shipments above A$1000, GST will be collected at the border. You will also need to fill in the Self-assessed clearance form and pay an import processing charge. Duties will also be charged based on the type of goods that you are importing into Australia. For more info on the duties charged based on goods type, you can refer to this link: https://ftaportal.dfat.gov.au/
If you’re shipping to Australia with Janio, we can help you to organise your shipments to help them move more smoothly through Australian customs. To find out more, reach out to us via the button below:
Below are some item categories are not allowed to be imported into Australia.
*Janio currently cannot ship food items to Australia
For the full list of prohibited goods, you can check this list from the Australian Border Force:12
In Australia, restricted imports are prohibited from entering Australia unless you have a permit from the relevant authorities.
Australia restricts goods from the following categories:
Below is a summary of consumer products categories that are relevant to eCommerce merchants that are restricted from being imported into Australia along with their respective governing bodies in Australia for getting permits or certifications:
Australia’s Restricted Consumer Products Imports
|Name||Prohibited/ Restricted||Governing body/ List|
|Ceramic ware – glazed||Restricted||National Measurement Institute certification|
|Dog collars – protrusions||Restricted||Minister for Home Affairs|
|Erasers, novelty – toxic materials||Restricted||Minister for Home Affairs|
|Fly swatters/mosquito bats – electronic||Restricted||Australian Border Force|
|Incandescent lamps||Restricted||Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources|
|Laser pointers||Restricted||Depends on the State you’re importing to|
|Lighters||Restricted||Consumer Product Safety Branch – Australian Competition & Consumer Commission|
|Money boxes, novelty – toxic materials||Restricted||Minister for Home Affairs|
|Pencils or paint brushes – toxic materials||Restricted||Minister for Home Affairs|
|Tobacco – Chewing and oral snuff||Restricted||Australian Competition and Consumer Commission|
|Toys – toxic materials||Restricted||Minister of Home Affairs|
Australia’s Restricted Items for Intellectual property and cultural items:
|Name||Prohibited/ Restricted||Governing Body/ List|
|ANZAC||Restricted||Minister for Veterans’ Affairs|
|Cultural heritage goods from Papua New Guinea||Restricted||Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications – Office for the Arts – Movable cultral heritage|
|Goods bearing an image of an Australian state or territory flag, coat of arms or seal||Restricted||Minister of Home Affairs|
|Goods bearing an image of the Australian Arms, Flag or Seal of the Commonwealth||Restricted||Commonwealth Flag Officer|
For the full list of restricted goods, you can check this list from the Australian Border Force.12 Please note that we have defined goods as ‘restricted’ if they are able to be imported into Australia with a permit or written permission from the goods category’s governing body.
It pays to stay on top of what can or cannot be shipped into Australia. If you’re shipping with Janio, we can help to advise you what these are to help keep your shipments into Australia moving smoothly. Contact us to get a quote today!
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