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  • Collaborating with other revenue agencies

    Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)

    Highlights for the year, DIBP:

    • collected $3.5 billion goods and services tax (GST) and $25.6 billion deferred GST on imported goods
    • cleared 4.1 million import declarations and self-assessed clearance declarations
    • processed 45.2 million import lines, with an import value of $273.8 billion
    • cleared 1.35 million export declarations
    • processed 6.6 million export lines, with an export value of $299.0 billion
    • administered 895,317 Tourist Refund Scheme claims, approving 96.82% of the claims resulting in refunds of $201 million of GST and wine equalisation tax (WET).

    For 2016–17, DIBP compliance activities identified a total of $54.31 million in GST understatements, which is similar to the $54.32 million identified in 2015–16.

    Table 11: GST understatements, 2013–14 to 2016–17






    GST understatements






    2014–15 includes a voluntary disclosure of $52.1 million; without this disclosure results would have been similar to those in 2013–14.

    In 2016–17, over 54% of GST understatements were voluntary disclosures, where importers voluntarily self-reported errors to correct information they had previously provided. As voluntary disclosures rely upon self-reporting, fluctuations in the value of GST understatements from year to year are common. In 2015–16, $41.7 million of identified GST understatements were from voluntary disclosures, while in 2016–17, $29.7 million of GST was identified.

    The Australian Border Force (ABF) has continued to strengthen its relationship with industry to enhance and encourage levels of voluntary compliance through education and awareness, while still addressing identified non-compliance. During 2016–17, the ABF has continued a campaign to test the application of behavioural insight concepts as an effective method of increasing voluntary compliance, compared to traditional compliance enforcement activities.

    DIBP is continuing to deploy measures to detect and deter serious revenue non-compliance, including complex fraud. In 2017–18, the revenue risk areas DIBP will continue to focus on are undervaluation, misuse of origin and concessions, misclassification, and the links to serious organised fraud and other crimes.

    Pre-clearance intervention activities

    • The customs value of imported goods assessed through pre-clearance intervention activities was approximately $8.9 billion. This does not include the value of imported goods subject to compliance activity.
    • Targeted activities resulted in checks on 112,467 import documents (import declaration, self-assessed clearance declaration, air cargo report and sea cargo report), which identified GST understatements of $6.9 million and GST overstatements of $0.3 million.
    • Random sampling activities resulted in checks on 5,387 import documents, which identified GST understatements of $12 million and GST overstatements of $1.0 million.

    Post-transaction investigation activities

    Post-transaction investigation covers a range of activities, including formal investigations, audits, desktop activities, leverage exercises, assessment of voluntary disclosures, and targeted activities and adjustments resulting from checks of customs licensed premises.

    • The customs value of imported goods assessed through formal audit activity was approximately $379 million.
    • DIBP conducted 227 targeted revenue audits, which identified GST understatements of $4.7 million and GST overstatements of $81,661.
    • The customs value of imported goods assessed through non-audit activities was approximately $11.0 billion.
    • Non-audit activities, comprising assessment of 57 complex voluntary disclosures, identified GST understatements of $29.7 million and no GST overstatements.


    • Compliance activities resulted in the rejection of refund claims with a GST value of $1.1 million.

    Tourist Refund Scheme

    Since 2012–13, there has been a significant increase in the number of GST refunds approved under the TRS. This can be attributed to an increase in passenger growth over this period and a regulation change in April 2013 that extended the eligibility criteria. In 2016–17, 895,317 claims were processed, compared to 839,876 in 2015–16. 96.8% of TRS claims were approved, resulting in refunds of $201.7 million of GST and WET.

    The value of rejected TRS claims was $6.6 million, up from $4.1 million in 2015–16.

      Last modified: 30 Jan 2018QC 54336