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Taxes on overseas purchases

Remember that goods purchased overseas by mail order or online may be charged GST and/or import duty.

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Duty is usually charged on goods that are made here in significant quantities. So clothes, shoes and jewellery may be charged duty, while books, CDs, DVDs and video games won’t.

You’re charged if the total GST and import duty on your purchase is more than $60. As a rule of thumb, if the cost of your goods comes to more than $400 (including postage, freight and insurance) you’re likely to be charged GST. You may also be charged duty depending on the items.

You will also be charged an “import entry transaction fee” ($24.75) and a “biosecurity system entry levy” ($12.50). These fees are to cover the time and costs of processing imports.

Customs won’t release your parcel until you’ve paid all these charges.

Update: Customs has created an online duty estimator so you can estimate how much duty and/or GST you may need to pay.

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