SunShine Customs Broker

Frequent Asked Questions
  1. What is a Customs broker?
  2. What is a freight forwarder?
  3. What customs duty and GST rate are payable?
  4. What is tariff concession?
  5. What is ISPM 15?
  6. How to treat “free of charge” goods for Customs purpose?
  7. What is a SAC entry?
  8. How to import a motor vehicle?
  9. What documents do I need for Customs and Quarantine clearance?
  10. What are Quarantine requirements?
  11. Why goods should be packed properly?
  12. Why a packing declaration is so important?
  13. What kind of imported goods must be inspected by AQIS?
  14. What do you need to know about personal effects?
  15. What is Deferral of GST?
  16. How does Customs' computer system handle the deferral of GST?
  17. Which entries are captured in the deferred GST amount passed to the ATO at the end of each month?
  18. What is duty and GST impact on small value shipment?

  • Q. What is a Customs broker ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    Customs brokers bring together critical business information that allows importers to clear their goods safely, securely and quickly through Customs. They manage your business data to ensure your goods meet Customs’ requirements.
  • Q. What customs duty and GST rate are payable ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    Most imported goods are subject to 5% duty & 10% GST. Duty rate can be different for various reasons, for examples, Tariff Concession Systems, Developing country tariff concessions, free trade agreements. Textile, alcohol, tobacco, PMV attracts higher duty rate.
  • Q. How to import a motor vehicle ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    First you need to apply for import permits. To apply for a Motor Vehicle Import Approval just click the following Link Quarantine requirements for vehicles To prevent the entry of diseases, noxious weeds and insect pests into Australia, all vehicles on arrival may require inspection and be properly cleaned. This is usually affected by steam cleaning. You should remove all soil and any other matter from your vehicles (including the underside) prior to exportation to Australia. Motor Vehicle Standards Act The Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, which is administered by the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch, came into effect on 1 August 1989. Under this legislation it is an offence to import any new or second hand vehicle unless:
    • it meets the safety and emissions standards applying to vehicles to be used on Australian roads, or
    • Arrangement is in place to modify the vehicle to meet these requirements after its arrival in Australia.
  • Q. What is tariff concession ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    The scheme is objected to support Australia’s industry competitiveness by lowering costs through relief from customs duty on imported business inputs and consumer items where there is no equivalent Australian production. Goods which are subject to Tariff concession are duty free. To make full use of this benefit, you need to provide full details of your products. The Customs broker will access that for you.
  • Q. What is Deferral of GST ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) operates a scheme that provides for the deferral of GST on imported goods. The Deferred GST Scheme covers GST only; it does not impact upon Customs duty, which must still be paid at the time of importation. To be eligible for GST deferral scheme,
    • Owners must lodge Business Activity Statements monthly
    • Owners must deal with the ATO and Customs electronically
    • Owners must have a good compliance record
  • Q. How does Customs' computer system handle the deferral of GST ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    If an entity has an ABN approved for deferral, the COMPILE system defers ALL GST payable on an entry automatically. COMPILE calculates the amount of GST to be deferred and this appears on the marks screen of the entry and the entry print.

    The total amount of GST that has been deferred for an ABN is aggregated by Customs and passed to the ATO at the end of each month
  • Q. Which entries are captured in the deferred GST amount passed to the ATO at the end of each month ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    Customs informs the ATO about all amounts of GST deferred on:
    1. Entries for home consumption (ie. Natures 10 and 30) that were finalized* during the month.
    2. Post warrant amendment entries (these correct errors on earlier entries for home consumption) that were finalized* during the month (provided that GST was deferred on the original entry).
  • Q. What documents do I need for Customs and Quarantine clearance ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    As a rule, a standard importing or exporting transaction usually requires a commercial invoice, packing list, Bill of Lading. Other documents may be required due to the type of goods you imported or origin of countries etc.
    For sea freight, a packing declaration should be provided. If the packing or goods has timber, it should be fumigated. Therefore a fumigation certificate should be provided.
  • Q. What are Quarantine requirements ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    • Australian import conditions are available on the import conditions database (icons) on
    • Packing declaration is required for FCL and LCL cargo. You need to fill in all the information required on a standard packing declaration. A valid packing declaration is very critical to the quarantine clearance.
    • Annual packing declaration covers all the shipments from the same supplier in the valid date period
    • If the container has been treated per ISPM 15 standard, then a packing declaration with ISPM 15 declaration should be provided
    • If a container has to be directed to an AQIS approved premises for unpacking and inspection, delays will occur and costs will be involved.
    • Ensure the container is free of soil, grain, snails or plant and animal material. The inside and outside of the container should be cleaned before shipment .All timber used as packaging in the container should be treated by an AQIS approved method. If timber dunnage has been used in the loading of the containerized cargo, a valid treatment certificate is required. Timber must also be free of bark.
    • Offshore treatments may facilitate faster clearance. The treatment has to be provided by approved treatment provider
    • Straw packing is prohibited. Straw could carry insects and diseases to Australia and can’t be cleared through normal fumigation. It must be unpacked at AQIS approved premises for treatment or removal or destruction at the importer's expense.
    • Don’t pack your goods in fruit, vegetable, meat or egg cartons or second-hand bags. These pose a high risk because they could carry pests and diseases. These types of cartons and bags will be removed and destroyed under quarantine supervision.
    • Don’t use timber with bark attached. Bark is prohibited and needs to be removed and destroyed at importer’s expenses.
  • Q. Why a packing declaration is so important? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    AQIS accepts packing declaration from packer (they can be shipper or any party involved in the packing of the goods). If there is no timber declared, AQIS will release the shipment on documents except it is subject to random check. If there is no packing declaration, AQIS will order an inspection. Inspection fee will occur to the importer.
  • Q. What kind of imported goods must be inspected by AQIS ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    • motor vehicles
    • bamboo and straw articles
    • nuts and seeds
    • canned meats
    • rice
    • cheese
    • scrap metal
    • foodstuffs, coffee beans
    • skins fruit — dried or fresh
    • herbs and spices
    • stock foods — plant and animals
    • personal effects
    • used goods
    • used or new agricultural machinery
    • more to be listed
  • Q. What are unaccompanied personal effects ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    Definition of personal effects: Personal Effects are your own unaccompanied belongings sent from overseas and should have been owned for more than 12 months. If you have purchased something from overseas and have not owned and used it for a period longer than 12 months, it is considered as a commercial shipment and is handled differently.

    Concessions If you are a migrant coming to Australia to take up permanent residence for the first time, or a person returning to resume permanent residence, you may enter duty/tax free any unaccompanied effects - other than controlled items -which you have owned and used overseas for 12 months (or more) before your departure for Australia. Duty free concessions that apply to alcohol, tobacco and other articles that accompany you through Customs when you arrive in Australia, do not apply to unaccompanied effects.

    Quarantine Requirements Common Items of AQIS concern include used gardening tools, agriculture tools, wooden articles, skin, feather etc AQIS will inspect the goods to make sure it is safe to bring the goods into Australia. A clear packing list is very important to minimize the time involved in the inspection. AQIS action may require such as fumigation, re-export the goods at your cost for prohibited items

    Document Checklist In order for us to proceed with your clearance we require the following documents:
    - completed B543 (Unaccompanied Effects Statement)
    - detailed Packing List
    - freight forwarder's/shipping company's Arrival Notice
    - photocopy of ID page from passport and photocopy of visa page
    - copy of Bill of Lading/original if required
    - copy of Packing Declaration
    - copy of Fumigation (if applicable)
    - signed Letter of Authority to Act.
  • Q. Why goods should be packed properly ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    Lots of goods are damaged during transportation due to bad packing. For example, furniture, toys, ceramic tiles. The damage caused by non proper packing is not covered by insurance. Shipper or packer is responsible for the loss.
  • Q. What is a freight forwarder ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    A freight forwarder organizes the safe, efficient movement of goods on behalf of an exporter, importer or another company or person, sometimes including dealing with packing and storage. Taking into account the type of goods and the customers' delivery requirements, freight forwarders arrange the best means of transport, using the services of shipping lines, airlines or road and rail freight operators. In some cases, the freight forwarding company itself provides the service.
  • Q. What is ISPM 15 ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    ISPM 15 is the 'International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Publication No. 15: Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade'. Timber packing and dunnage bearing the mark below is certified as having been subjected to an ISPM 15 approved treatment.
    ISPM 15 mark certmark
    If the timber packing has been stamped with ISPM 15, that means the timber has been permanently treated. However the bark declaration is still compulsary
  • Q. How to treat “free of charge” goods for Customs purpose ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    A value must be determined for the goods provided by overseas supplier free of charge. The free of charge goods are normally gifts, bonus, samples, promotional items, warranty replacements, repaired and retuned goods free of charge. When a free of charge items appears on the invoice, the invoice will not be accepted by Customs. A reasonable market value should be provided even there is no actual transaction value. With warranty replacement goods, the value of the original goods can be used as the value of the replaced goods. With repaired goods, cost of repair, and cost of the original goods are required.
  • Q. What is duty and GST impact on small value shipment ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    If the customs value of a shipment is less than A$1000, and the goods are not alcohol or tobacco, the shipment should be cleared with no duty and GST. However It doesn’t exempt other compliance with Customs, AQIS and any other import regulations.
  • Q. What is a SAC entry ? Go To Top

  • Answer:
    A SAC Declaration is used to clear specified low-value goods where the value of the goods does not exceed the import entry threshold (currently A$1000). These are goods that arrive by sea or air and they must be reported on a cargo report. SAC entry doesn’t apply to goods arriving from post, goods which are personal effects and goods on carnets. Goods sent through international post don’t require a SAC entry. All SAC declarations must be electronically lodged. There is no manual option. There is no cost recovery charge applied to a SAC declaration The SAC (short form) declaration includes information that relates to goods being imported, including:
    * importer details
    * value of the goods
    * method by which goods arrive in the country
    * if alcohol or tobacco products are included additional details are required for tariff and payment calculation
    * community protection information associated with the goods ( eg any timber articles etc)

    If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call or contact through our website. CLICK HERE
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