GST and imported goods

For GST, Luxury Car Tax and Wine Equalisation Tax purposes, from 1 July 2015, where the term ‘Australia’ is used in this document, it is referring to the ‘indirect tax zone’ as defined in subsection 195-1 of the GST Act.

This information explains:

How GST applies to imported goods

Goods and services tax (GST) is payable on most goods imported into Australia (taxable importations).

GST on a taxable importation is payable by businesses, organisations and private individuals, whether they are registered for GST or not. However, if you are a GST-registered business or organisation and you import goods as part of your activities, you may be able to claim a GST credit for any GST you pay on those goods.

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GST definitions – GST credit

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Paying GST on imported goods

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) collects GST on taxable importations. The GST payable is 10% of the value of the taxable importation.

The value of taxable importation is the sum of:

  • the customs value of the goods
  • any customs duty payable
  • the amount paid or payable to transport the goods to their place of consignment in Australia
  • the insurance cost for that transport
  • any wine tax payable.

Generally, GST is payable before the goods are released by ACBPS. If you are not registered under the deferred GST scheme then the GST is payable at the same time, at the same place, and in the same manner as you would customs duty (or would be payable if the goods are subject to customs duty).

Deferring the payment of GST on imported goods

If you are an importer and are registered for GST, you may be able to defer the payment of GST by participating in the deferred GST scheme. The scheme allows you to defer the payment of GST on taxable importations until the first activity statement you lodge after the goods are imported. You will have to meet certain criteria to be eligible to participate in the scheme.

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When an assessment is made on imported goods

For taxable importations made on or after 1 July 2012, an assessment of GST, luxury car tax (LCT) or wine equalisation tax (WET) payable is made when the declaration has been received by ACBPS and they have provided a declaration advice. Together these documents form the assessment notice.

Similarly, activity statements for tax periods starting on or after 1 July 2012 are treated as assessments when you lodge them. A period of review in which amendments can be made applies for these assessments.

If the payment of GST on importation is deferred to the next monthly activity statement, it does not form part of the net amount on that activity statement. The deferred GST amount forms part of the assessment made on the importation of the goods. The period of review applies from when the assessment on importation is made, not the assessment for the period in which the deferred amount is payable.

    Last modified: 24 Jun 2015QC 16237