Importing goods by post
Importing Goods By International Mail (Post)
Imported goods may arrive in Australia in a number of ways. You may bring the goods with you from overseas or you may import the goods by:
- express courier
- sea cargo
- international mail (post).
The method of delivery determines the Customs and Border Protection clearance formalities and charges that may apply.
This section provides information on goods imported by international mail. You will find information on the following topics:
If goods are received from overseas as mail articles (parcels) — carried by Australia Post and addressed to you — you are the importer of those parcels. All imported goods including mail articles are assessed for community protection risks, permit and approval requirements.
All goods imported into Australia are also subject to assessment for duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other taxes and charges that may be applicable. As the importer (owner), you are liable for any duty, taxes and charges unless there is an exemption or concession that applies. All personal and commercial importations are subject to assessment.
All imported goods are also subject to the controls of the Department of Agriculture. More information on Department of Agriculture requirements is available at: www.daff.gov.au.
If your goods arrive in Australia by mail and require a permit or approval or are restricted or prohibited under any Commonwealth law, Customs and Border Protection may hold the goods until you can produce a permit or approval.
If you have imported prohibited or restricted goods, regardless of value, you will receive a letter from Customs and Border Protection to advise you that those goods are held. That letter will tell you why your goods are held, what you need to do and who to contact for assistance.
If your goods arrive in Australia by mail and have a declared or assessed value of A$1,000 or less, the goods may be imported free of duty, taxes and Customs and Border Protection charges, unless they are alcohol products or tobacco products. Apart from alcohol and tobacco products those goods will be cleared by Customs and Border Protection and delivered by Australia Post without you doing anything.
You will be sent a First Notice by Australia Post if you have imported goods with a declared or assessed value of more than A$1,000.
In this case, you need to lodge an import declaration to Customs and Border Protection for the goods. The declaration will be assessed for duty, GST and Wine Equalisation Tax (if applicable). An import processing charge will also apply. Customs and Border Protection will advise you of the amount you need to pay before your parcel will be delivered to you.
Customs and Border Protection cannot allow goods with a value over A$1,000 to be delivered by Australia Post until an import declaration is made and any liability for duty, taxes and charges is paid in full. There may also be AQIS requirements to be met before Australia Post can deliver your goods.
If the goods you imported are tobacco and/or alcohol products with a value of A$1,000 or less, you will be sent a tax invoice by Customs and Border Protection.
The information sent to you will provide payment advice, follow those directions carefully. Once payment is received from you, Customs and Border Protection will advise Australia Post to deliver your goods. If the goods have a value of more than A$1,000 then you must lodge an import declaration if you want the goods delivered to you.
If you prefer not to pay the duty and GST and you want the goods returned to sender, you should contact Australia Post on 13 13 18.
There is no longer a concession for goods sent as a gift. Goods that are gifted, donated, loaned or supplied free of charge are still subject to assessment for duty and other taxes and charges if they have a value of more than A$1,000 or if the goods are tobacco and/or alcohol products.
If you are unable to provide evidence of the value of the goods, the legislation provides other ways of determining value.
The ‘gift concession’ (by-law number 9740019) was revoked on and from 1 October 2008, after the low value goods threshold was increased to A$1,000.
All imported goods are subject to assessment for duty, GST and other taxes and charges even if you imported those goods for your own use. If the goods you imported have a value over $1,000 you will need to lodge an import declaration and pay any duty, GST or other taxes and charges that may apply.
Lodging and finalising an import declaration means the goods are ‘entered for home consumption’. The term ‘entered for home consumption‘, used by Customs and Border Protection, means goods were declared and cleared from Customs control in accordance with Customs law for delivery within Australia.
If a parcel (one consignment) addressed to you contains goods or other packages that were imported for other people (such as your friends or relatives) and the parcel has a declared or assessed value exceeding A$1,000 you will need to lodge an import declaration and pay the duty, taxes and charges. Customs law does not permit a parcel to be split or broken down into separate packages for assessment, even when those other packages were imported for other people.
Australia Post will send you a First Notice if it holds a parcel or parcels addressed to you that:
- have/has a declared or assessed value over A$1,000; or
- contain/s tobacco and/or alcohol products.
If you take no action within 30 to 45 days of receiving a First Notice then Australia Post will return the goods to the sender.
If you do not want to pay the duty and GST and you want the goods returned to sender then you do not need to do anything.
You can lodge an import declaration in the following ways:
- Have a licensed Customs broker lodge an import declaration (B650) on your behalf. Customs brokers can be located in the local phone directories or by searching the internet; or
- Complete an Import Declaration - Post (N10) (Form B374) yourself and lodge it by email, mail, or fax or lodge it in person* with Customs and Border Protection (international mail imports only); or
- Lodge a full import declaration by completing an Import Declaration (N10) – Form B650. This form is a more comprehensive form that allows for multiple types of goods, multiple uses of concessions, exemptions and other instruments not usually associated with goods imported by international mail.
* You can only lodge your declaration in person at certain Customs and Border Protection offices. Please call 1300 363 263 for the nearest location where you can lodge an import declaration in person.
If you are an Australian Business Number (ABN) holder and are registered for GST deferral you may only lodge import declarations electronically through the Integrated Cargo System, please contact your customs broker.
Customs and Border Protection officers are prohibited from completing, filling out or making an import declaration for you but they will provide guidance and direction to assist you as much as possible.
Australia Post is the carrier of international mail. If you want to track your parcel or make an enquiry about delivery of your parcel please contact Australia Post on 13 13 18.
If you want to make an enquiry about an import declaration or a payment you have made to Customs and Border Protection contact Customs and Border Protection on 1300 363 263.
If you have any enquires relating to biosecurity matters please contact the Department of Agriculture on 1800 020 504.
Customs and Border Protection will calculate any Customs Duty, GST and other charges applicable to the goods that you are importing based on the information that you provide on the Import Declaration – Post (N10) Form (B374). You will receive a Postal Import Declaration Payment Advice listing these charges.
The Payment Options section located at the bottom of the Payment Advice details all options available to you.
More information about Customs and Border Protections payment options can be found at Paying Customs and Border Protections invoices.
- Customs and Border Protection does not accept personal cheques for the payment of a Postal Import Declaration Payment Advice; and
- Customs and Border Protection pass on merchant fees (currently 0.94% for MasterCard and Visa and 1.54% for American Express) for credit/debit card payments. This fee is not subject to GST and is equal to the fee that Customs and Border Protection incurs from its banker.
If you are a regular importer it may be beneficial for you to communicate electronically with Customs and Border Protection using the Integrated Cargo System (ICS). To do so you need to obtain a digital certificate. A digital certificate is a verifiable means of identifying an entity communicating directly with Customs and Border Protection’s systems. For more information click on the links below:
- Communicating electronically with Customs and Border Protection;
- Digital certificates and client registration;
- or for more comprehensive information and downloads click on this link: http://www.cargosupport.gov.au/site/page5950.asp
- Who can I call for general information about importing goods?
- Who can I call if I want to track my parcel/s or ask about delivery?
- My goods are for my private or personal use, so why does Customs and Border Protection not send them on?
- What do I need to do to clear and receive my goods?
- Are there charges for import declarations?
- Do I need to provide Evidence of Identity (EOI)?
- How is duty and GST calculated?
- How is the rate of duty determined?
- What is a ‘Tariff Classification’?
- What are Concessions, Exemptions and Free Trade Agreements?
For more information on importing goods contact the Customs Information and Support Centre on 1300 363 263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.