• Making GST free sales to travellers departing Australia

    This guide explains how you can sell goods to travellers about to depart Australia GST-free. It has been prepared to help retailers, but travellers may also find it useful.

    A traveller is anyone who intends leaving Australia temporarily or permanently on an international flight or voyage. They can be an Australian resident or a non- resident.

    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.

    GST-free sales using the sealed bag method

    If you want to sell GST-free goods to travellers who are about to depart Australia, you need to use the sealed bag method. You must place the goods in a bag or other package that is sealed to prevent their removal until the traveller has left Australia. You can also use the sealed bag method to sell wine without wine equalisation tax (WET).

    The rules require retailers who want to make sealed bag sales to participate in a system for verifying that the traveller has taken the goods out of Australia as part of their accompanied baggage.

    The 12 rules below explain how to make a sealed bag sale and how to ensure you do not end up paying the GST on behalf of your customer.

    Rules for selling GST-free goods in sealed bags

    1. Confirm your customer is departing from Australia

    You have to be satisfied that your customer is travelling from Australia, and by law you must verify that they have taken the goods out of the country as part of their accompanied baggage.

    Look at their overseas ticket, and make sure the ticket belongs to the customer by asking for proof of identity, such as their passport.

    If the customer is a member of an organised tour group that is visiting your retail outlet, you can either ask to sight each member's ticket, or the tour group list. The list will usually be printed on the tour organiser's letterhead, or be signed by the tour organiser, their employee or agent. The list must contain the name and address of the traveller (the address does not need to be included if it's shown on the tax invoice).

    If the traveller is a member of the Australian Defence Force, a crew member of an aircraft or ship, or leaving on a privately chartered aircraft or boat and is not carrying a ticket for the voyage, there are other documents that have to be sighted.

    The docket collection agency, Duty Free Security, operates on behalf of retailers beyond the ABF border clearance area at airports and seaports. When you make a sealed bag sale, attach one copy of the sales invoice (the border clearance copy) to the outside of the sealed bag or package so that the agency can retrieve it after travellers have passed through the ABF border clearance area and verify that the goods have been taken out of Australia.

    Duty Free Security collects invoices 24 hours a day, seven days a week at all major international airports in Australia. You should contact them to get details of their service and fees, as well as information about retrieving invoices from travellers embarking on ships.

    See also:

    1. Check your customer has completed a sealed bag declaration

    Your customer must complete a Duty/Goods and Services Tax (GST) Free - Sealed Bag Declaration (SB declaration). This declaration contains details of the purchase, the intended journey, and the purchaser's agreement to comply with the docket collection system.

    All travellers must sign a declaration for their purchases. There are two formats: the first is the traveller's declaration on its own, and the second combines the traveller's declaration with a sales invoice. Choose the format which best meets your business needs and ensure your customer signs one.

    See also:

    1. Make three copies of the sales invoice

    You have to issue an invoice in triplicate and in such a way that it cannot be altered. The three copies you need are:

    • the customer's copy
    • a copy attached to the outside of the package (the border clearance copy)
    • your retail copy.

    See also:

    1. Keep your copies for verification

    You must retain both:

    • the signed SB declaration
    • a copy of the invoice.

    It is also a good idea to keep a copy of the customer's proof of identity such as their ticket and passport.

    See also:

    1. Do not give passengers goods more than 60 days before departure

    You must not give the goods to the purchaser earlier than 60 days before the departure date on their ticket. Goods can be purchased more than 60 days before they leave, but they must be left at the store and the customer cannot collect them any earlier than 60 days before they leave. Keep a record of the date that your customer can collect the goods.

    See also:

    • Sealed bag rule 5 – Time is limited within which the purchaser may take possession of the goods.
    1. Goods must be in a sealed package.

    The customer can only take the goods in a sealed package. The goods and the customer's copy of the invoice are to be placed inside, and the package securely sealed – you can use plastic adhesive tape, staples or a heat-sealing machine. All joins and opening points should have tamper proof seals over them.

    Place the border clearance copy of the invoice in a transparent waterproof envelope and attach that to the outside of the package. If the package is too big to go in the cabin of an aircraft, or if it is to go on a ship, another notice must be placed on the outside to say that the package is to be carried in the hold of an aircraft or on board a ship.

    See also:

    • Sealed bag rule 6 – Purchaser may only take possession of goods in a sealed package.
    1. The docket (invoice) retrieval system – before the ABF border clearance area.

    If the bag or package is stored in the aircraft hold, the purchaser can surrender the package to the airline operator who retrieves invoices on behalf of Duty Free Security. If the goods are carried on a ship, the purser or their representative collects the invoice.

    See also:

    • Sealed bag rule 7 – Invoice to be retrieved at the point of surrender of the goods before the ABF border clearance area.
    1. The docket (invoice) retrieval system – after the ABF border clearance area.

    After passing ABF at the airport, the traveller presents the sealed bag or package to Duty Free Security staff who detach the invoice from the outside. Travellers must carry the packages in full view so staff can see when an invoice needs to be detached. As the invoice is collected, staff will also check the package to ensure it has not been tampered with. If the package is not sealed or has been tampered with, Duty Free Security must notify us.

    See also:

    • Sealed bag rule 8 – Invoice to be retrieved when beyond the ABF border clearance area.
    1. Examine the sealed bag.

    At the time the border clearance copy of the invoice is retrieved, you or your agent must examine the sealed package to check that it remains sealed and has not been tampered with.

    See also:

    1. Notify us of any sealed bag tampering or other discrepancy.

    You must notify us if you become aware that the package has been tampered with or is no longer sealed or the goods enclosed in the package are not the goods described on in the customer copy or the border clearance copy of the invoice.

    See also:

    • Sealed bag rule 10 – Tampering or other discrepancy in respect of sealed package is to be notified.
    1. Retrieve your invoices

    You must validate the retrieved border clearance copy of an invoice that your agent has removed from the goods that are being exported.

    See also:

    1. Reconcile your invoices

    Once duty-free security staff have retrieved all border clearance invoices, they validate them by making an electronic record of the identifying numbers, preparing a collection list of all invoices from each retailer, and regularly sending each retailer a computer listing.

    You must reconcile the invoice numbers on the list with your copies of the invoices issued for GST-free sealed bag sales. If you have copies that do not match with an invoice on the collection list, those sales must be counted as taxable and adjustments may be required to account for the GST. That means that you have to pay the GST on these sales to us.

    See also:

    Sealed bag rule 12 – Invoices must be matched.

    If you don't follow these rules

    If you don't comply with these rules, the sale is classed as taxable. That means you must pay GST on it and account for the GST on your activity statement.

    Invoices not retrieved by the time your activity statement is due

    If you make a sealed bag sale to a traveller who does not intend leaving the country until after you have lodged your activity statement, you will have to pay GST on that sale. It will not count as a GST-free sale until Duty Free Security has advised that the invoice has been retrieved.

    Once the traveller has left the country and the invoice has been retrieved, you will need to make a decreasing adjustment to your activity statement for the tax period in which the invoice has been retrieved.

    How to create a sealed bag

    To create a sealed bag, follow these eight steps:

    1. Use staples, a heat-sealing machine or other sealing device along this line.
    2. Place at least one non-removable seal to cover the top opening of the bag.
    3. Place a second non-removable seal here (use more if necessary).
    4. At least one more non-removable seal should be placed here to cover access through the handle.
    5. Staple a waterproof plastic envelope to this point of the carry bag (do not staple through the invoice).
    6. The envelope must contain a copy of the sales invoice.
    7. The customer's copy of the sales invoice should be placed inside the sealed bag so the details are visible (that is, facing outward and visible through the clear side of the bag).
    8. Affix the printed warning to the package.

    Sealed bag and package warnings

    Each sealed bag and package must have the following warning placed on it:

    Warning

    1. You must take this sealed bag or package with you when you leave Australia. Do not leave it at home or give it to anyone else.
    2. You must carry this bag or package by hand in full view at the airport or seaport. It must not be packed in a suitcase or in hand luggage.
    3. Ensure that authorised collection officers collect the invoice attached to the bag or package after you have passed through the ABF border clearance area .
    4. This bag or package must not be tampered with or opened. It must remain sealed until the invoice has been collected.
    5. If you do not take the goods out of Australia within 60 days of obtaining them, you must immediately return the sealed bag or package containing the unused goods to the store where you purchased them.

    If you fail to observe these rules, you may be liable to a penalty.

    How to create a sealed package

    To create a sealed packet, follow these seven steps:

    1. Make sure there is a hinge or lid at one end of the box.
    2. Close the lid and seal it.
    3. Use three non-removable seals over opening points at lid (use more if necessary).
    4. Place at least three non-removable seals over corresponding opening points at the other end of the box.
    5. Put some more non-removable seals over the lid.
    6. Attach a waterproof plastic envelope securely on the outside. The envelope should contain a copy of the sales invoice.
    7. Attach the warning to the package.

    Sales or deliveries to travellers beyond the ABF border clearance area

    GST-free sales can also be made if travellers collect their purchases after they have passed through the ABF border clearance area , or if you deliver the goods to the traveller on the other side of the ABF border clearance area. These sales do not need to be in sealed bags and they do not need export verification. However, your retail outlet must be located beyond the ABF border clearance area at the airport, or else you have to have the agreement of the airport or ship operator to make such deliveries.

    If your customer is travelling by sea, you must deliver the goods to the ship's purser or their representative – they will pass the goods to the traveller after they have boarded.

    It is your responsibility to make arrangements with airport owners and ship operators to deliver and collect the goods.

    GST-free sales using ABF border clearance rules

    1. Confirm your customer is departing from Australia

    If you plan to deliver the goods to your customer after they have passed through the ABF border clearance area, the procedure is the same as making a sealed bag sale (but you do not need to put the goods in a sealed bag). You have to be satisfied that your customer is travelling from Australia, and by law you must verify that they have taken the goods out of the country as part of their accompanied baggage.

    Look at their overseas ticket, and make sure the ticket belongs to the customer by asking for proof of identity, such as their passport.

    If the customer is a member of an organised tour group that is visiting your retail outlet, you can either ask to sight each member's ticket, or the tour group list. The list will usually be printed on the tour organiser's letterhead, or be signed by the tour organiser, their employee or agent. The list must contain the name and address of the traveller (the address does not need to be included if it is shown on the tax invoice).

    If the traveller is a member of the Australian Defence Force, a crew member of an aircraft or ship, or leaving on a privately chartered aircraft or boat and is not carrying a ticket for the voyage, there are other documents that have to be sighted.

    Where the retail outlet is located beyond the ABF border clearance area at the airport, the retailer must sight the purchaser's boarding pass or ticket for travel to a foreign country.

    See also:

    1. Check your customer has signed a declaration.

    If you are delivering goods to your customer after they have crossed the ABF border clearance area, get them to sign an ABF border clearance declaration as you make the sale, which states that the purchase will not be taken until they are beyond the ABF border clearance area.

    You can design an ABF border clearance declaration, but it must include the following statements:

    • I have purchased the goods on the Australian side of the ABF border clearance area and will not take possession until I have passed through the ABF border clearance area.
    • I am aware that the Taxation Administration Act 1953 has penalties for people making a false or misleading statement in this declaration, and that the Customs Act 1901 and the Excise Act 1901 may have penalties if the goods are not exported.

    The declaration must also include details of the customer, the goods purchased and the journey.

    See also:

    1. Make two copies of your invoice

    If you are delivering the goods past the ABF border clearance area , you must generate an invoice in duplicate and in such a way that it cannot be altered. The two copies are:

    • the customer's copy
    • your copy

    See also:

    1. Keep your copies

    Keep a copy of the invoice and, if you are delivering the goods, a copy of the signed declaration together with evidence that the goods were collected beyond the ABF border clearance area . This could be a receipt or, if your customer is travelling by sea, a receipt or a copy of a manifest list signed and stamped by the ship's purser.

    See also:

    If you don't follow these rules

    If you don't comply with these rules, the sale is classed as taxable. That means you must pay GST on it and account for the GST on your activity statement.

    Penalties

    Remind your customers that there are penalties for making a false declaration or statement.

    Duty-free shops

    Duty-free shops are located in city areas and international airports. At airports, there are outwards duty-free shops on both sides of the ABF border clearance area. These shops follow the same rules for GST-free sales.

    Tourist refund scheme

    Travellers departing Australia can get a GST or WET refund under the tourist refund scheme (TRS), administered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and its operational arm the Australian Border Force (ABF). The scheme applies to certain goods purchased from an Australian retailer that has an Australian business number (ABN) and is registered for GST, by travellers at prices that include GST or WET. It does not apply to services such as accommodation. If a traveller has purchased GST-free goods, they cannot get a refund under the scheme. Also crew members of an aircraft or ship are not eligible to claim refunds under the scheme.

    The requirements of the scheme are that a traveller may claim a refund under the TRS if they:

    • buy a minimum of $300 worth of goods from one retailer
    • buy the goods within 60 days of departure from Australia
    • hold tax invoices from the same registered retailer for a total of at least $300 for goods
    • carry or wear the goods on board the aircraft or ship as cabin baggage unless they are oversized or subject to aviation security measures and the airline requires them to be checked in as hold luggage
    • present their tax invoices, goods, passport and boarding pass to the TRS booth when departing Australia.

    Residents of Australia's external territories, such as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, can also obtain a refund of GST where they export the goods to their home territory as unaccompanied baggage. The external territory resident can arrange for goods to be exported home and present their tax invoices, proof of residency in their home territory and proof that the goods have been exported, or that arrangements have been put in place for the goods to be exported within 60 days, to the Tourist Refund facility as they depart Australia. A refund of GST (and WET if applicable) will be paid once all of the documentation is available.

    The TRS does not apply to services - for example, accommodation. If a traveller has purchased goods GST-free they cannot also get a refund under the TRS.

    ABF may refer false or misleading Tourist Refund claims to the ATO. If this happens we may decide to review the claim and even if the traveller did not get a refund they could be penalised.

    If a traveller brings goods back into Australia that they have made a claim for a GST refund under TRS and the value of those goods (combined with any other overseas purchases) exceeds AUD $900, they must be declared to the ABF and the GST refund will have to be repaid. GST is payable on the entire value of the items, not just the amount that is over the AUD $900 limit. Penalties may apply to undeclared taxable goods.

    Exports

    Goods can also be GST-free if the retailer exports them before, or within 60 days after, payment or invoicing. We can give you more information.

    You can sell a newly constructed recreational boat to a resident of an external territory GST-free provided the boat is exported within 12 months of the earliest day of the buyer taking physical possession of the boat, or you receive the final instalment payment for the boat, or you give the buyer an invoice for the final instalment. The boat can only be used for private recreational purposes whilst in Australia.

    Prohibited items and restrictions

    Certain classes of goods are prohibited on aircraft or ships for safety reasons. These include gas cylinders, fireworks and aerosol sprays. All airlines provide information to passengers on prohibited items.

    Airlines also have restrictions on the number and size of parcels that can be taken into the cabin.

    If travellers bring the goods back into Australia, they could be liable to pay GST. Normal passenger concessions apply but, if in doubt travellers should declare the goods to ABF on their return.

    Table 1 – Sealed bag rules

    SB rule 1 – seller to sight travel documents

     

    Details of rule

    The seller of the goods must sight either:

    • the purchaser's ticket for travel from Australia to a foreign country
    • if appropriate, a document relating to the purchaser that is an approved document.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    Approved documents: The following documents will provide evidence that a purchaser is about to travel from Australia to a foreign country:

    • A tour group list -a list will be an approved document if it is printed on the tour organiser's letterhead (or is signed by the tour organiser, a tour employee or agent) and if contains        
      • full name, residential address of the traveller (address is not necessary if it is recorded elsewhere – for example on the invoice)
      • passport details (that is, passport number and date of issue) of the traveller
      • tour number (if any) and name of tour organiser or operator
      • either departure details (including ticket number, name of airline or shipping line, flight or voyage number, date and port of departure), or a copy of a ticket of one of the tour group members (or, if group members are not all taking identical journeys, a copy of a ticket for each type of journey).
    • Australian Defence Force personnel – personal identity documents and authorised travel or movement orders issued by the relevant service.
    • Aircraft and ship's crew – flight or ship's crew identification, and a departure flight or voyage timetable (if available).
    • Private flights or voyages – a letter signed by the pilot or captain, setting out the name, address and passport details of the passengers to be carried, as well as the details of the flight or voyage concerned; and a copy of an authorised government transport clearance document or permit for the pilot or captain to depart on that journey to a foreign country.

     

    Time when the requirements of the rule must be satisfied

    Before the purchaser takes possession of the goods.

    SB rule 2 – purchaser to sign as SB declaration

     

    Details of rule

    The purchaser must sign and retain a copy of a declaration (SB declaration) setting out, in the approved form all of the following:

    • Details of the purchaser, and the goods purchased, and the proposed journey.
    • If the following matters are true, a statement that the purchaser        
      • intends departing Australia with the goods within 60 days of taking possession
      • will not interfere with the goods, the sealed package containing the goods or the copies of the invoice relating to the goods before submitting the sealed package to the seller in accordance with SB rule 7 or SB rule 8 
      • will, in accordance with SB rule 7 or SB rule 8, submit the sealed package to the seller for removal of the border clearance copy of the invoice
      • is aware of the penalty for making a false or misleading statement.
    • Any other information or statement required by the approved form.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    SB declaration:
    A proforma of the SB declaration is attached to and forms part of this determination. The proforma sets out the information and statements required by the Commissioner to be included in each such declaration.

    Collection of goods at a date later than purchase:
    In some cases, a traveller will purchase goods at a store, but leave the goods there and not collect them until a later date closer to their departure date. For example, a purchase may be made 60 or 90 days before departure, but the traveller is not allowed to collect the goods more than 60 days before departure (see SB rule 5). In these cases, the date of collection of the goods (which will be different from the invoice date) will either be recorded on:

    • the original declaration retained in the store
    • a collection docket or receipt to be stored with the original declaration.

     

    Time when the requirements for the rule must be satisfied

    Before the purchaser takes possession of the goods.

    SB rule 3 – seller to make an invoice

     

    Details of rule

    The seller must make an invoice:

    • at the time of the sale
    • in an approved form
    • in triplicate
    • containing a full description of the goods.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    Forms of invoice that render obvious an alteration to, or deletion from, the contents of the invoice:
    Each invoice must be prepared so as to prevent the addition of further items to the invoice (or copies) after the transaction has been completed. For example, the invoice may be ruled off manually or electronically immediately below the last sale item.

    Information to be included in an invoice:

    The invoice must contain the following information:

    • a description sufficient to identify the goods (including brand name and model number, if any)
    • quantity (in figures) of each item
    • sale value (in figures) of each item, or quantity of items
    • the total number of items in the package (to be expressed in words)
    • the total sales value (in figures) of the invoice
    • the date
    • name of seller
    • address of recipient
    • ABN of seller.

    Special invoice requirements - each invoice must have a unique number that is one of a series of sequentially numbered invoices. If possible, all invoices in the series relate only to sealed bag sales from that seller.

    Time when the requirements of the rule must be satisfied

    Before the purchaser takes possession of the goods.

    SB rule 4 – seller to retain copies of certain documents

     

    Detail of rule

    The seller must retain:

    • the signed SB declaration
    • a copy of the invoice.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    It also would be prudent to retain a copy of the documents sighted under SB rule 1 – for example, ticket, passport.

    Time when the requirements of the rule must be satisfied

    Before the purchaser takes possession of the goods.

    SB rule 5 – Time is limited within which the purchaser may take possession of the goods

     

    Details of rule

    The seller must not pass possession of the goods to the purchaser earlier than the commencement of the 60th calendar day before the specified departure date.

    What the Commissioner has approved

    Advance purchases:
    Goods can be purchased more than 60 days before departure, provided that the goods are left at the store and the purchaser does not collect the goods any earlier than the commencement of the 30th calendar day before departure. (See 'Collection of goods at a later date than purchase' in SB_rule_2.)

    SB rule 6 – purchaser may only take possession of goods in a sealed package

     

    Details of rule

    The seller must not pass possession of the goods to the purchaser unless the:

    • goods are enclosed in a package that is        
      • of an approved kind
      • sealed by an approved method so that the goods cannot be removed from the package without the seal being broken
    • border clearance copy of the invoice is attached to the exterior of the package by an approved method
    • customer copy of the invoice is placed inside the package by a method that, if possible, enables the invoice to be read without need to break the seal of the package.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    • Approved packages:
      If the package is small enough to be carried in the cabin of an aircraft, if possible it should enable the customer copy of the invoice to be read without the need to break the seal of the package.        
      • Transparent packages are preferred.
      • Some non-transparent printing – for example the store's name and logo, may be printed on the package.
    • These packages must have a printed warning attached.        
      • An example of the warning is set out in the attachment to this determination.
      • Warnings may be on self-adhesive labels that can be attached to packages.
    • All packages must be sealed using plastic adhesive tape, staples, a heat sealing machine or other appropriate sealing apparatus, plus tamper proof seals.
    • Tamper proof seals (or sealing tape) must bear either of the following phrases (or similar)      
      • 'GST-free goods – to be exported – do not break this seal before export'
      • 'Goods under ABF control'.
    • The seals, sealing tape or staples must be placed across each sealed join so as to render access to the contents of the package impossible without the seals being broken.
    • If the package is not small enough to be carried in the cabin of an aircraft, or is to be carried on a ship, a large sticker notice must be placed on the outside of the package, bearing the words 'Goods to be carried in the hold of an aircraft or on board a ship' (or similar words).

     

    SB rule 7 – invoice to be retrieved at the point of surrender of goods before ABF border clearance area

     

    Details of the rule

    If, before the purchaser presents themselves to the ABF as departing Australia, the purchaser surrenders the sealed package to the carrier with whom the purchaser is to travel, the seller must retrieve the border clearance copy of the invoice at the point of surrender of the package.

    What the Commissioner has approved

    While it is not something the Commissioner has power to approve, it is desirable that purchasers present the packages in full view of either:

    • hold luggage check-in staff of the airline
    • the purser or his representative on a ship.

     

    SB rule 8 – invoice to be retrieved when beyond the ABF border clearance area

     

    Details of rule

    If the purchaser in their own possession carries the sealed package beyond the ABF border clearance area, the purchaser must then surrender the sealed package to the seller and the seller must retrieve the border clearance copy of the invoice.

    Time when the requirements of the rule must be satisfied

    After the purchaser presents themselves to the ABF as departing Australia and before departing on the flight or voyage.

    SB rule 9 – sealed package to be examined

     

    Details of the rule

    The seller must examine the sealed package when dealing with it under SB rule 7  or SB rule 8 to ascertain whether it:

    • remains sealed
    • has been tampered with.

     

    Time when the requirements of the rule must be satisfied

    Immediately before the border clearance copy of the invoice is retrieved under SB rule 7 or SB rule 8.

    SB rule 10 – tampering or other discrepancy in respect of sealed package is to be notified

     

    Details of rule

    The seller must notify the Commissioner as soon as is practicable, in the approved form, if the seller becomes aware that either:

    • a package is no longer sealed, or has otherwise been tampered with
    • the goods enclosed in the package are not the goods described in the customer copy of the invoice or the border clearance copy of the invoice as the case may be.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    Approved procedure for notifying the Commissioner:

    • The docket collection agency (the agency) detects any tampering or discrepancies, the agency must request the traveller to sign a statement, addressed to the Commissioner, confirming        
      • the full name, residential address and telephone number of the traveller
      • either that the package was no longer sealed or tampered with by the traveller, or that the goods in the package were not the goods described in the customer copy of the invoice, as the case may be.
    • The agency must ensure that a copy of the SB declaration (showing the same signature of the traveller as the signature on the tampering declaration) must be forwarded to the local branch of the Australian Taxation Office as soon as practicable (that is, within five working days of the date on which the discrepancy was detected.)
    • As the agency is agent for the seller, it is desirable that the agency also informs the seller of any tampering or discrepancies.

     

    SB rule 11 – retrieved invoices must be validated

     

    Details of rule

    The seller must validate a retrieved border clearance copy of an invoice:

    • as soon as is practicable
    • by the approved method.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    Approved method of validating invoices:
    When a border clearance copy of an invoice is collected by the docket collection agency (the agency), it will be validated when the following requirements are satisfied:

    • The agency makes an electronic record of the identifying numbers of the retrieved border clearance copies of the invoices within 10 working days of the actual day of departure of the traveller on a flight or voyage that departed from Australia - it is important to note that the border clearance copies of invoices from packages that have been tampered with (see SB rule 10) are not to be included in the electronic record.
    • The agency produces (by the 15th day of the following month) a computer-generated document listing the invoice numbers of dockets collected in the previous month - this listing (referred to as the 'collection list') is either a        
      • simple list of all invoice numbers from each seller
      • reconciliation of invoices from those sellers that provide advance notification of sales prior to departure of the travellers concerned.

     

    Sealed bag rule 12 – invoices must be matched

     

    Details of rule

    The seller must reconcile the retrieved border clearance copy of an invoice against the seller's copy of the invoice, by an approved method.

    What the Commissioner has approved

    Approved methods of reconciling invoices:
    Border clearance copies of invoices will be treated as having been reconciled against the seller's copies of invoices when all of the following requirements are satisfied:

    • The seller has received a collection list from the docket collection agency (the agency).
    • The collection list is on the authorised letterhead of the agency, or is stamped or perforated by a unique stamping or perforating device that is approved by the Commissioner, and that is permanently held at the offices of the agency.
    • The seller is able to match the seller's copies of invoices against the invoice number of the collection list - subject to the following point, invoices with numbers matching those on the collection list are considered to be reconciled.
    • No alterations have been made to the seller's copy of the invoice since the time of the original transaction.

     

    Table 2 –ABF border clearance rules

    CB rule 1 – seller to sight travel documents

     

    Details of rule

    The seller of the goods must sight either:

    • the purchaser's boarding pass or ticket for travel from Australia to a foreign country
    • if appropriate, a document relating to the purchaser that is an approved document.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    If the traveller purchases goods at GST-free retailers beyond the ABF border clearance area , they can show a boarding pass or ticket for the seller to sight.

    Alternatively, sometimes the traveller will pay for the goods on the Australian side of the ABF border clearance area but will not collect the goods until beyond the border clearance area (referred to as 'onshore purchase/offshore collection' situations), for example, where goods are purchased onshore and delivered to a ship for collection by a sea passenger. The traveller will be required to show the same documents as are listed in SB rule 2 . The seller must sight such documents at the time of the onshore purchase.

     

    Time when the requirements of the rule must be satisfied

    Before the purchaser takes possession of the goods.

    CB rule 2 – purchaser may have to sign a CB declaration

     

    Details of rule

    if the purchaser pays for the goods on the Australian side of the ABF border clearance area and will not take possession of the goods until he or she has passed through the ABF border clearance area, he or she must sign, and retain a copy of, a declaration (CB declaration) setting out, in the approved form:

    • details of the purchaser, the goods purchased and the proposed journey
    • a declaration that he or she is aware of the penalty for making a false or misleading statement
    • any other information or statement required by the approved form.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    Onshore purchase/offshore collection situations:

    The traveller is to sign a declaration stating that

    I have purchased the goods on the Australian side of the ABF border clearance area and I will not take possession of the goods until I have passed through theABF border clearance area. I am aware that the Taxation Administration Act 1953 provides for penalties where a person makes a false or misleading statement in this declaration, and that the Customs Act 1901 and the Excise Act 1901 may provide for penalties if the goods are not exported.

    Time when the requirements of the rule must be satisfied

    Before the purchaser takes possession of the goods.

    CB rule 3

     

    Summary of rule

    Seller to make an invoice.

    Details of rule

    The seller must make an invoice or receipt:

    • at the time of the sale
    • in an approved form
    • in duplicate
    • containing a full description of the goods.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    Forms of invoice that render obvious an alteration to, or deletion from, the contents of the invoice:
    Each invoice must be prepared so as to prevent the addition of further items to the invoice (or copies) after the transaction has been completed. For example the invoice may be ruled off manually or electronically immediately below the last item. It is important to note that this requirement does not apply to receipts issued beyond the ABF border clearance area .

    Information to be included in an invoice:
    The invoice must contain the following information:

    • a description sufficient to identify the goods (including brand name and model number, if any)
    • quantity (in figures) of each item
    • sale value (in figures) of each item, or quantity of items
    • the total sales value (in figures) of the invoice
    • date
    • name of supplier
    • name of recipient
    • ABN of supplier.

     

    Time when the requirements of the rule must be satisfied

    Before the purchaser takes possession of the goods.

    CB rule 4

     

    Summary of rule

    Seller to retain copies of certain documents.

    Details of rule

    The seller must retain:

    • a copy of the invoice
    • the signed CB declaration (if any)
    • if the goods are paid for on the Australian side of the ABF border clearance area and pass into the possession of the purchaser only after the purchaser has passed through the ABF border clearance area, an approved document giving evidence of that fact.

     

    What the Commissioner has approved

    Onshore purchase/offshore collection:
    If the goods are paid for on the Australian side of theABF border clearance area, and are collected by the purchaser beyond ABF border clearance area , the seller is required to retain a document as evidence of that fact.

    Approved documents:

    • If the goods are delivered to a ship, a copy of a manifest list, signed and stamped by the ship's purser (or other authorised ship's officer) will be required, containing the following details        
      • purchaser's name (whether a passenger or ship's crew member)
      • description of the goods, or the numbers of the invoices relating to the goods concerned
      • the number of packages (either boxes or bags) per purchaser
      • name of the ship and shipping line
      • journey details (that is, wharf number, date and time of departure).
    • If the purchaser collects the goods in any other place beyond the ABF border clearance area (for example, at an airport), the collection must be evidenced by a receipt signed by the purchaser – the receipt should contain the following information        
      • the invoice number relating to the purchase of the goods to be exported
      • date and time of collection of the goods
      • purchaser's name, residential address and telephone number
      • brief voyage details (that is, flight number/voyage number).

     

    Time when the requirements of the rule must be satisfied

    Before the purchaser takes possession of the goods.

      Last modified: 30 Aug 2016QC 16664