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Bunker fuel and commercial shipping

Check what customs or excise duty or GST you must pay for bunker fuel used in commercial shipping bunkers.

Last updated 16 November 2020

If you acquire bunker fuel (including lubricants) for use in commercial shipping bunkers you may have to pay customs or excise duty or GST and claim fuel tax credits or refunds of duty.

If you acquire bunker fuel (including lubricants) for use in commercial shipping bunkers, you may have to pay duty or GST and receive a credit or refund.

Ships' bunkers are generally described as:

  • oil carried as fuel on oil-burning ships
  • ships' fuel not listed on the manifest of cargo.

Bunker fuel includes all types of petroleum products used by ships as fuel or to power auxiliary equipment, including helicopters. It includes fuel oil, aviation fuel and diesel.

If you import or acquire bunkers used in commercial shipping operations, you may have various duty and tax requirements and entitlements, including:

  • customs duty
  • excise duty
  • GST and associated input tax credits
  • fuel tax credits
  • refunds of duty.

Your obligations depend on:

  • the type of voyages undertaken in Australian waters
  • the residency (for tax purposes) of the shipping operator
  • agency arrangements on behalf of non-resident shipping operators.

Duty is payable on bunker fuel consumed during a voyage in Australia. Ships on international voyages which disconnect in Australia and take trips to transport domestic cargo (passengers or goods) may need to pay duty on the fuel used. The international shipping operator may claim a refund.

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