Customs Act 1901

PART XII - OFFICERS  

Division 1 - Powers of officers  

Subdivision G - Dealing with goods seized as forfeited goods  

SECTION 209   POWER TO IMPOUND CERTAIN FORFEITED GOODS AND RELEASE THEM ON PAYMENT OF DUTY AND PENALTY  

209(1)   [Application]  

This section applies to dutiable goods that are forfeited by virtue of paragraph 229(1)(a), (g), (o), (p), (q) or (qa) (including forfeited by virtue of the operation of any of those paragraphs and section 230), other than goods that are prohibited imports.

209(2)   [Goods may be impounded]  

Subject to subsection (3), an officer may impound goods instead of obtaining a seizure warrant to seize them if:


(a) the goods are in a Customs place; and


(b) either:


(i) the goods are goods to which this section applies; or

(ii) the officer has reason to believe that the goods are goods to which this section applies.

209(3)   [Duty exceeds $5,000]  

An officer must not exercise the power to impound goods under subsection (2) if, in the opinion of the officer, the amount of duty sought to be evaded in respect of the goods exceeds $5,000.

209(3A)  


209(3B)  


209(4)   [Taken to place of security]  

Goods impounded under this section shall be taken to such place of security as the Collector directs.

209(5)   [Where goods impounded]  

Where an officer impounds goods under this section, he or she shall as soon as is practicable, but not later than 7 days after the day on which the goods were impounded, serve on the owner of the goods, either personally or by post, a notice in writing -


(a) identifying:


(i) if the goods are an article - the article; or

(ii) if the goods consist of separate articles - each of those articles; or

(iii) in any other case - the goods;
and stating that the article, articles or goods have been impounded under subsection (2); and


(b) setting out the amount of duty demanded in respect of the article, each of the articles, or the goods, identified in the notice; and


(c) setting out the date on which the goods were impounded; and


(d) setting out the terms of, or adequate particulars of the provisions of, subsections (6) and (7); and


(e) specifying the address at which payment under subsection (6) may be made in respect of the goods.

209(6)   [Where duty paid]  

Where the owner of an article or goods identified in a notice served under subsection (5) pays to the Collector, at the address for payment shown in the notice and within 21 days after the day on which the notice was served, the duty demanded in respect of the article or goods (not being a payment under protest in accordance with section 167) together with an amount of penalty equal to -


(a) if the goods were found in the course of a search of the baggage of a person who has arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia - an amount specified in the notice, being an amount equal to the amount of that duty that, in the opinion of the officer issuing the notice, the owner has sought to evade; or


(b) if paragraph (a) does not apply to the goods - an amount specified in the notice, being an amount equal to twice the amount of that duty that, in the opinion of the officer issuing the notice, the owner has sought to evade;

the following provisions apply:


(c) the Collector shall authorize the delivery of the article or goods to the owner;


(d) the article ceases, or the goods cease, to be forfeited; and


(e) proceedings shall not be brought for an offence against this Act in relation to the importation of the article or goods.

209(7)   [Where duty not paid]  

Where the owner of an article or goods identified in a notice served under subsection (5) does not pay duty and penalty in respect of the article or goods in accordance with subsection (6), the article or goods are taken:


(a) to have been seized under a seizure warrant at the end of 21 days after the notice is served; and


(b) to have been so seized by the officer who served the notice under subsection (5).

209(8)  

209(9)   [No liability for impounding goods]  

Neither the Commonwealth nor an officer or other person is under any liability in relation to the impounding of any goods under this section for which there was reasonable cause.

209(10)   [Application of Acts Interpretation Act]  

For the purpose of the application of section 29 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 to the service by post on the owner of goods of a notice under subsection (5), such a notice posted as a letter addressed to the owner at his or her last address known to the officer required to serve the notice shall be deemed to be properly addressed.

209(11)   [Reference to baggage]  

A reference in this section to the baggage of a person who has arrived in Australia shall be read as including a reference to goods on his or her person or otherwise with him or her.

209(12)   [Search of baggage]  

A reference in this section to a search of the baggage of a person shall be read as including a reference to a search of such part of the baggage of a person as is available for search at a particular time.




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