Regulations regarding customs clearance in Australia are relatively strict.

A customs broker comes in handy if you import to Australia since the process is not easy. You need to obtain documents like certificates, permits, and licenses,then comply with regulations and quarantine rules.

A customs clearance and delivery Australia broker is an intermediary between the importer and the customs authority.

A licensed customs broker and agent will assist you to determine the tariff classification, speeding up the clearance process, calculating import costs, meeting your legal obligations, paying duties and taxes, Lodge declaration and other documentation, and Placing your cargo at a facility after clearance.

If you import into Australia, you need at least a commercial invoice, Customs Entry or Informal Clearance Document (ICD), Bill of Lading (B/L, BOL) in sea freight; Air Waybill (AWB) in case of air freight, Other documents relating to the importation.

The CI includes information such as the date of issue, invoice number, the country of origin, the port of entry, tariff classification code, total invoice value and currency of payment, the unit value (given in a specific currency), the unit of measure: goods’ net and gross weight, name and address of both the exporter and importer, product name and quantity, means of transport, Incoterms delivery terms.

Data included in the transport document:shipper’s data, consignee’s data, conditions, details of the company/person to be notified of the cargo arrival, container number, quantity, type, and weight of goods.

You must keep all relevant commercial documents relating to the importation for five years from the day of entry.

Generally, importers do not have to hold an import license to import goods into Australia.

All goods imported into Australia must be declared and assigned a customs value (in AUD).

Before importing any goods into Australia, you have to provide your Australian Business Number (ABN) to the Australian Border Force and be registered for GST purposes to claim input tax credits.

If there are no substitutable goods in Australia, imports of such goods are exempted from tariffs. Tariffs are also lifted if a trade agreement exists between Australia and the country of origin/target market. Tobacco products and alcohol are subject to additional taxes at the border.

Apart from customs duties, the importer is responsible for applicable GST payments (Goods and Services Tax). The GST is 10% of the value of the taxable importation consisting ofthe customs value of the goods, any duties or WET payable, and the value of transport & insurance for imported goods.

Non-Australian businesses must register for GST if the annual turnover of their supplies connected with Australia is AUD 50,000 and more. Goods valued at AUD 1,000 or less are free of duty and GST, except tobacco, tobacco products, and alcoholic beverages. Still, 10% is charged on the price of products under a value of AUD 1,000 like jewelry, books, electronic devices, sports equipment, cosmetics, or clothing. There are other exemptions from the GST.

Types of import declaration in Australia:

Import declaration (N10 form) must be made if the consignment’s value is over AUD 1,000 and the goods are cleared for home consumption.

If the cargo is valued under AUD 1,000, the importer must make a Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC).

If the consignment valued at more than AUD 1,000 is to be stored in a warehouse before clearing customs, the Warehouse Declaration (N20) is obligatory.

You must keep in mind that Australia’s quarantine measures cover:Fresh food, Animals, Farm products, Mining, and construction machinery (all machinery imported into Australia must be free from contamination such as seeds, soil, plant, and animal materials), and some packaged foods.

Sometimes you must register goods before they are brought into Australia, such as:Industrial chemicals (solvents, cosmetics, adhesives, household cleaning products, and toiletries), Therapeutic goods (medicine and medical devices), and Chemicals used in the agricultural or veterinary sectors.

Customs clearance in Australia – customs entry

  1. Imported goods reach their destination port and enter Customs control.
  2. Goods are released if ABF is satisfied the goods are reported and declared correctly (providing a commercial invoice, bill of lading, packing list), any required permits are produced, and all duty and tax liabilities are paid. If you are an importer and registered for GST, you can defer the GST payment by participating in the Deferred GST Scheme.
  3. The ABF issues an Authority to Deal (ATD) that provides permission to deal with goods in the Australian market.

Before exporting goods out of Australia, you must complete all mandatory fields on the Export Declaration and report it to the Australian Border Force. You can lodge the declaration up to six months (one per consignment) before the date the goods are being exported:electronically through the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) and at one of our counters using the Export Declaration (B957 Form)

Some goods cannot enter Australia or can be imported with a permit. In most cases, the permission must be produced to the Australian Border Force at or before the time of import.

Products imported into Australia must comply with relevant regulations. Australia’s national standards body is Standards Australia. The organization represents Australia on the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), PASC (Pacific Area Standards Congress), and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).

Foods are under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE).

The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) regulates customer equipment, customer cabling, and other devices (the C-Tick mark).

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications sets the Australian Design Rules and automotive vehicle standards.

Original Equipment has to comply with Quality System QS9000.

Permits for medical devices and health-related products are issued by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

What if you fail at customs in Australia?

If you submit incorrectly prepared documentation, you may be imposed heavy penalties and bear shipping line charges for customs delays.

If you import/export prohibited goods without relevant permission or license, your goods can be seized. Moreover, you can face penalties such as 10 years of imprisonment or/and up to 2,500 penalty points.

If you report your imported cargo late, you can be fined AUD 8,100 (for a business, for an individual – AUD 2,700).

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