Importing - Personal Use

This info has been compiled from my own experience through both business & personal import activities. This is a guide only. You should check with the relevant Australian Government agencies to verify that this information pertains to your specific situation.

This information relates to an individual importing items into Australia for personal use.

For Personal Imports into Australia, Import Duty is not charged if the Import Item PURCHASE Value is less than AU$1000
There is a vast array of listings of different duty percentages for different items ranging from 0% up to about 80% Duty. They are all available on the internet at .
I donâ€t recommend you bother with this unless you are experienced with it. It can be very confusing.
You can contact Customs here;
Explain exactly what you want to bring into the country & within a few days they will get back to you with the exact Import Duty payable on your item.
As a general rule 5% Duty can be applied, as most items are 5% or less, but it is very strongly recommended that you check with Customs. Some items are much higher. (eg manufactured fabric = 17.5% Duty)
The amount of duty payable is calculated on the Purchase Price ONLY of the specific item.

For Personal Imports into Australia, GST is not charged if the Import Item PURCHASE Value is less than AU$1000

Where Import Duty is only calculated on the Purchase Price of an item, GST is calculated on the TOTAL cost of an import, & is charged at 10%.
Item Purchase Price + Shipping + Shipping Insurance + Import Duty. = TOTAL x 10%
When you call the Customs help line as noted in the Import Duty section, they will also indicate if GST is payable on your specific item.

Some people think that the Duty & GST exemptions only apply when the import is brought into Australia by the standard postal service. This is NOT correct. The exemptions are based on the VALUE of the import, NOT the method of transport.

If your personal import PURCHASE value is over AU$1000, it will need to be “Cleared” through Customs. This can only be done by a Customs Broker & you will pay a fee.
A Customs Brokerage fee is usually somewhere between AU$90 & AU$150 depending on the broker & the service.
This fee is over & above the amount of Duty & GST you will be required to pay.
If you have multiple items in 1 shipment that must be cleared, each item is listed seperately. The original Clearance Fee usually covers the first 5 items (or lines) on the clearance form. After the first 5 each additional line incurrs an additional fee. Usually around AU$5 per line.
You will be required to pay the Duty & GST BEFORE the item is released from Customs.

There are many ways to ship your personal import.
Postal Service, Courier etc.

Insurance is highly recommended. Especially if you are buying an expensive item.
You need to make sure your item is packaged well, especially if it is fragile. It is VERY possible that your item will arrive damaged.

If you choose not to have insurance, & just rely on the transport company replacement policy, you need to trust your seller just in case there is a transit claim. Transit claims can only be initiated by the person that SENDS the shipment. So if the seller couldnâ€t be bothered to follow through on the transit claim, you miss out.

If you use a courier, make sure you check their Import Policy. Some courier companies will charge a Customs Clearance Fee on ALL packages coming into Australia, regardless of the AU$1000 limitation.
Sydney Airport is the main entry point for all courier & postal services coming into Australia. Sydney Customs do not work on Saturday or Sunday. So if your package arrives in Sydney on a Thursday evening or a Friday morning, itâ€s unlikely that it will make it through Customs before the weekend & so it wonâ€t move on until the following Monday.
Try to get your items sent from overseas on a Thursday or Friday, then it will be flying over the weekend & arrive in Sydney early in the week & then be delivered to you later in the same week.

Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS)
You also need to make sure that your item or packaging has no timber, straw, sawdust etc. If it does, it will not be allowed into Australia. Or in the case of solid timber, it will need to be fumigated.
The charges for this will be sent to you.

Be aware that most international trade is done in US$$.
You need to have a basic understanding of how the ex-rate works to allow for exchange costs.
Eg. When you transfer money from your bank to an overseas supplier account, there are hidden charges.
1) Your bank will charge an exchange fee. Usually around 1.5cents per dollar. So if the advertised daily ex rate is say US$0.77, when you make the transfer the bank will make the exchange at $0.755 & they will take the extra as a fee.
2) Your bank will also charge a flat transfer fee. Mine is AU$25 for transferring up to AU$25k. Anything above $25k is then worked on a % of the transfer.
3) In the middle of the transaction there is a "Transfer Bank". This bank (usually The Bank of New York) will receive the international transfer & then pass the money on to the final end receiver, BUT, they will deduct a transfer fee. When you make the initial transfer you are not made aware of this fee. You will be liable for this fee.
If your seller is also not aware of this fee, they will not have made an allowance for it in their selling price, & therefore when they receive your money, there will not be enough.
In this instance the seller may think you have not sent enough & so will not ship your items. You then will be required to send more money to make up the short fall, BUT you will be subject to all of the same transfer costs for a 2nd time.

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