• Imports

    GST is payable on all taxable imports. You make a taxable import if you import goods for use in Australia. GST may also be payable on some intangible supplies made to you such as a service.

    Generally, GST will not be payable on imports if:

    • they are non-taxable imports
    • the value of a taxable import of a live animal that was exported has not changed, or
    • the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) temporary import provisions apply.

    Non-taxable imports

    An import of goods can be a non-taxable import if:

    • the goods were exported from Australia and are returned to Australia without being altered, treated, renovated or processed, and
    • the importer was not entitled to, and did not claim, a tourist refund on the exported goods, and
    • the importer:
      • is the manufacturer of the goods, or
      • has previously purchased the goods by a taxable sale or taxable import.
       

    The import of goods is also non-taxable if the importer purchased or imported the goods before 1 July 2000 and:

    • the goods were subsequently exported and returned to Australia on or after 1 July 2000 in an unaltered condition since their export, and
    • the ownership of the goods when they are returned to Australia is the same as their ownership on 1 July 2000, and
    • the importer was not entitled to, and did not claim, a tourist refund on the exported goods.
    Attention

    In the racing industry, any treatment to (or training of) an animal whilst overseas means that it is unlikely that the animal will be returned in an unaltered condition. This includes a mare returning to Australia in foal. Therefore, it is unlikely that the re-importation of race animals or animals used for breeding would be a non-taxable import.

    End of attention

    When the value of a taxable import is nil

    You must pay GST on the value of a taxable import. If the value of the import is nil, you do not have to pay GST on the import.

    If a live animal is exported from Australia and then re-imported to Australia, GST will be payable on the import if the value of the animal is greater than its value prior to being exported from Australia. The amount of GST payable will be calculated on the amount by which the value of the live animal has increased.

    Example 1: GST not payable on re-import of live animal

    XYZ Stud Farms wishes to re-import a stallion to Australia from New Zealand. The stallion was purchased in New Zealand several years ago and has been imported and exported between Australia and New Zealand for its services several times.

    The stallion was valued at $200,000 immediately before it was last exported to New Zealand. Prior to importing the stallion back to Australia, another valuation is conducted and XYZ Stud Farms finds that the stallion is still valued at $200,000. Because the value of the stallion has not increased whilst in New Zealand, the value of the import is deemed to be nil. Therefore XYZ Stud Farms do not have to pay GST on the import.

    Example 2: GST payable on re-import of breeding livestock

    A horse racing syndicate sends its best mare to New Zealand to be serviced by a past Melbourne Cup winning stallion. On export the mare is valued at $250,000. When the syndicate re-imports the mare, her value has increased as she is in foal. ACBPS now values the mare at $300,000 (this includes the cost of transport and associated insurance and may reflect such things as the stallion service fee paid). The value of the taxable importation is $50,000 ($300,000 less $250,000).

    Therefore the racing syndicate must pay $5,000 GST (10% of $50,000).

    End of example

    ACBPS temporary import provisions

    You may wish to import horses into Australia on a temporary basis for purposes such as racing or breeding. As the temporary import provisions are administered by the ACBPS, we recommend you contact them for more information.

    Generally, goods may be brought into Australia on a temporary basis without the payment of customs duty or GST, providing a security deposit or undertaking is given and certain conditions are met. All temporary imports must be re-exported within the approved period, usually for a period of up to 12 months. The nature of the goods, what they will be used for while they are in Australia, and who is importing them, will determine whether they are eligible for temporary import.

    In the racing industry, animals imported for racing may qualify under the temporary import provisions, however animals imported for breeding purposes will generally not qualify.

    Example 1: GST not payable on imports under the ACBPS temporary import provisions

    Freddy is a non-resident of Australia and wishes to import his horse from New Zealand to compete in several Australian races. Harness Racing Promotions have applied for and received an ACBPS special events exemption on these races.

    Freddy applies to import his horse under the ACBPS temporary import provisions. If Freddy's application is approved, he will not have to pay GST on import; however he will need to provide a security deposit or bank guarantee and ensure that the horse is exported within an approved period of time.

    Example 2: GST not payable on imports under the ACPS temporary import provisions

    Sam is a jockey and is not a resident of Australia. Sam wishes to import his customised riding equipment for use during his rides in Australia. Sam applies to ACBPS to import his equipment as 'professional equipment' under the ACBPS temporary import provisions. Sam's application is approved with some conditions. He must also provide the ACBPS with a security deposit that will cover duties and taxes payable.

    End of example
    Attention

    If you have an issue relating to the import of goods (including animals), you should contact the ACBPS. Other issues relating to imports may include:

    • the death of an animal imported under the ACBPS temporary import provisions
    • the import of frozen or fresh animal semen.
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    Get it done

    You can contact the ACBPS by:

    End of get it done

    Paying GST on imports

    GST is charged at 10% of the value of the taxable import. The value of a taxable import is the customs value plus the cost of international transport, insurance and customs duty.

    Generally, you have to pay GST on goods you import into Australia if you are the beneficial owner of the imported goods. Transporters and other facilitators who arrange the import of goods are not regarded as importers for GST purposes.

    You must pay GST on taxable imports regardless of whether you are registered for GST or not. This includes individuals, and other entities, who do not carry on an enterprise.

    Generally, GST must be paid by the importer at the same time and in the same way as customs duty. This is collected by the ACBPS at the time the goods are 'entered for home consumption' – that is, when they release them for use in Australia.

    The ACBPS collects GST and customs duty on imported goods when they enter Australia. If you are registered for GST, you are entitled to claim GST credits for GST paid on anything imported for business purposes.

    Non-residents with resident agents

    A non-resident may be an importer for GST purposes if they import goods into Australia. The same general rules apply and GST is payable on the import by the non-resident.

    There are special rules for certain non-residents who appoint resident agents to act on their behalf. If a non-resident is registered or required to be registered for GST and makes a sale or import through the resident agent, special rules apply.

    If these special rules apply, the non-resident's GST obligations transfer to the resident agent, that is, GST must be paid by the resident agent and not by the non-resident. Similarly, the resident agent is entitled to claim GST credits on purchases and imports made in carrying on the non-resident's enterprise in Australia.

    A resident who is acting as an agent for a non-resident is required to be registered for GST if the non-resident is registered or required to be registered.

    Example: GST payable by a resident acting as an agent for a non-resident

    ABC Worldwide Racing is a non-resident entity wishing to import several thoroughbred horses for the spring racing carnival. ABC Worldwide Racing conducts its racing activities as an enterprise and registers for GST. They appoint QTX Australian Racing as a resident agent to import on their behalf. QTX Australian Racing is registered for GST.

    Because QTX Australian Racing is a resident agent for ABC Worldwide Racing, they must pay the GST on the imports. They are also entitled to claim the GST credits for the GST paid on the imports.

    End of example

    Deferred GST scheme

    If you are an approved entity under the deferred GST scheme, you may defer payment of GST on imported goods until the first activity statement is submitted after the goods are entered for home consumption.

    Example: GST deferred on a taxable import

    Mandy is an Australian resident who purchases a horse in America and wishes to import it into Australia. She meets the enterprise test for her racing activities and is registered for GST.

    Mandy lodges her activity statement monthly and has received approval to use the deferred GST scheme. Mandy uses the services of an Australian transport company to arrange the import.

    Mandy defers the GST on the import when the horse is entered for home consumption. The deferred GST will appear on Mandy's next activity statement and she is entitled to claim a GST credit for the same amount if the horse is to be used in her enterprise.

    End of example

    Claiming GST credits on imported goods

    You are not entitled to claim GST credits if the goods you import are intended for private use or for making input-taxed supplies.

    You may be entitled to claim GST credits for the GST you pay on your import if the goods are for use in your enterprise and you are registered for GST. Your entitlement to claim GST credits is not transferable and can't be assigned to another entity.

    Example: GST payable on taxable import

    Sam is an Australian resident who purchases a horse in New Zealand and wishes to import it to Australia. Sam conducts his racing activities as a hobby so he can't register for GST. Sam uses an Australian transport company to arrange the import.

    Sam must pay the GST on the import when the horse is entered for home consumption. Because Sam can't register his racing activities, he can't apply to defer the GST payable. Furthermore, neither Sam nor the transport company is entitled to claim a GST credit for the GST paid on the import.

    End of example

    Find out more

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      Last modified: 24 May 2014QC 18093