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  • Situations where you can claim GST credits

    Generally, where goods from overseas are sold and brought into Australia, both the buyer and the seller of the imported goods will be considered to have caused the goods to be brought to Australia for their own purposes. If you are the buyer or seller of the goods and your name appears on the import declaration as 'owner', you are the importer.

    Example: More than one entity causes the goods to be brought to Australia

    A non-resident supplier causes goods to be brought to Australia to fill an order and complete the sale of the goods to an Australian manufacturer. The Australian manufacturer also causes the goods to be brought to Australia to use in its manufacturing process, by placing the order with the non-resident supplier. The causing of the goods to be brought into Australia does not, in itself, identify the entity that imports the goods.

    If the Australian manufacturer is named as the 'owner' on the import declaration, then they are the importer and not the non-resident supplier.

    The Australian manufacturer would be entitled to the GST credit if they are registered or required to be registered for GST and imported the goods for a creditable purpose.

    End of example

    Where an agency arrangement exists

    If you authorise an agent to act on your behalf and the agent is named as 'owner' on the import declaration, you must be able to clearly demonstrate that you have an agency arrangement for you to be accepted as the importer.

    If you are a:

    • resident principal, you are entitled to the GST credit if you are registered or are required to be registered for GST and you imported the goods for a creditable purpose
    • non-resident principal, a resident agent is entitled to the GST credit if you are registered or required to be registered for GST and you imported the goods for a creditable purpose
    • non-resident principal and your agent is also a non-resident, you are entitled to the GST credit if you are registered or are required to be registered for GST and you imported the goods for a creditable purpose.

    Glossary

    Agent

    A third party you have appointed to enter into transactions on your behalf. The term agent in this context does not extend to the usual service of customs brokers attending to your customs formalities, as they would be acting as a facilitator and not an agent.

    Creditable purpose

    The purpose for which the goods are imported, that is, goods imported for use in carrying on your enterprise but not for the purpose of a private or domestic nature or that relates to making input taxed supplies.

    Customs

    The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

    Taxable importation

    Goods that are imported and entered for home consumption (within the meaning of the Customs Act 1901).

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      Last modified: 06 Jun 2018QC 25880