Customs Act 1901


Division 2 - Penalties  


Scope and purpose


This section applies to a person who makes a communication (however described) to the Department under this Act or gives someone else information for inclusion in such a communication.


The regulations may provide that specified communications, or specified kinds of communications, are exempt from this section.


The purpose of this section is to help officers of Customs to verify the content of communications made to the Department and to trace information included in communications made to the Department to its source. Requirements to keep records


If the person makes the communication to the Department, the person must keep, in accordance with this section, for the period of 5 years after the communication is made, a record that verifies the contents of the communication.

Penalty: 30 penalty units


If the person (the giver ) gives information to another person (the recipient ) for the recipient or someone else to include in a communication to the Department, the giver must keep, in accordance with this section, for 5 years after the information is given, one or more records that:

(a) either verify the information or, if the giver was given the information by someone else, verify that the giver was given that information and identify the person who gave it to the giver; and

(b) verify the fact that the giver gave the information to the recipient; and

(c) identify the recipient.

Penalty: 30 penalty units.


Subsections (3) and (3A) are offences of strict liability.

For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code .

Place, manner and form for keeping and storing records

A person who is required by this section to keep a record may keep the record at any place (which may be a place outside Australia) and, subject to subsection (5), may keep the record in any form or store it in any manner.

A person referred to in subsection (4) must:

(a) if the record is in a language other than the English language - keep the record in such a way that a translation of the record into the English language can readily be made; or

(b) if the record is kept by a mechanical, electronic or other device - keep the record in such a way that a document setting out in the English language the information recorded or stored can be readily produced. Informing authorised officer of whereabouts of record

An authorised officer may, by written notice given to a person who is required under this section to keep a record, require the person to inform the officer within a reasonable period, and in a manner specified in the notice, of the whereabouts of the record.



(a) a notice is given to a person under subsection (6); and

(b) the person fails to comply with the notice;

the person commits an offence of strict liability punishable, on conviction, by a penalty not exceeding 30 penalty units.


For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code .

Interaction with section 240


To avoid doubt, this section does not affect the operation of section 240 .

Section 240 requires owners of imported or exported goods, and certain persons who deal with such goods, to keep for 5 years relevant commercial documents relating to the goods.

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