Buying over the internet

Things you buy over the internet will have the same rules, duties and screening processes applied as any other import.

You need to know that:

  • For goods with a value of AUD1000 or less, there are no duties, taxes or charges to pay at the border.
    • From 1 July 2018, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) may apply to low value goods when imported from overseas by consumers in Australia. However, the GST will be charged at the point of sale and not at the border.
  • For goods with a value over AUD1000, you will need to fill out an Import Declaration, and pay duties, taxes and charges at the border.
  • You will need to pay duties and taxes on some goods (like tobacco or alcohol) regardless of their value
  • Certain types of goods are not allowed to be brought into Australia, or else need special permits.

What can I import?

To find out more about what you can and cannot bring into Australia, see Importing prohibited and restricted goods.

We may screen, x-ray or examine goods to make sure the goods are allowed into Australia. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources may also need to clear and inspect your goods before they can be delivered to you.

Goods with a value of AUD1000 or less

The value of the goods and how they arrive in Australia will determine how we clear them for delivery to you and what duty, taxes and charges may apply.

Goods (excluding tobacco, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages) with a value of AUD1000 or less are referred to as low value imports. From 1 July 2018, the GST may apply to these goods when imported from overseas by consumers in Australia.

If these goods arrive in Australia by air or sea cargo, they must have a Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) Declaration. There is no charge for this declaration. This will be taken care of by the cargo company or freight forwarder if their services are engaged.

Goods arriving by post or mail do not require a SAC declaration.

For more information, see:

Goods with a value of over AUD1000

To import goods with a value over AUD1000, you need to lodge an Import Declaration. The Import Declaration provides information about the goods you are importing.

There is a processing charge for making an Import Declaration. You will also be required to pay the duty and taxes for your goods.

You may use the services of a licensed customs broker to help you import your goods.

For more information, see: Import Declarations.

FAQ - I paid customs duty on goods I imported but I returned them to the supplier because, “I changed my mind”, “they don’t fit”, or “I don’t like them”. Can I get a refund of the duty?

No. Unfortunately, “a change of mind”, “how they fit”, or “simply not liking them”, is not a refund circumstance under the legislation.

However, as an alternative option if you export the imported goods, subject to certain conditions, you may be entitled to a drawback of the duty paid.

For information on Drawbacks, see Export Concessions Duty Drawback Scheme.

Before you buy online

Sometimes goods bought over the internet from an Australian company may be sent to you directly from overseas. You may have to pay duty and taxes when this happens.

Gas and electrical goods

Gas and electrical goods that do not meet Australian safety and technical standards may be a serious safety risk. Those for sale online from overseas may not meet Australia’s standards. Some goods, like barbecues and personal grooming items, may not be able to be modified to meet the Australian standards.

Pirated and counterfeit goods

If you buy pirated or counterfeit items, you are buying a flawed product and supporting an illegal trade that could involve serious criminal activity and harm. You can help to combat copyright piracy and counterfeiting of trade marks by not bringing these goods into Australia.

In some cases, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers will seize imported pirated and counterfeit goods.

Importing and selling counterfeit goods is illegal and can result in prosecution.

To find out more about pirated and counterfeit goods, visit Counterfeiting and piracy.