GST on low value imported goods

08.03.2018 Lisa McAuley
GST on low value imported goods

From 1 July this year, low value goods[1] imported from overseas by consumers in Australia will attract Goods and Services Tax (GST).

This means that vendors—including merchants, electronic distribution platform operators and re-deliverers—with sales subject to GST of AUD75,000 or more each year will need to register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), collect GST at the point of sale and remit that GST to the ATO.

As this is a tax measure and not a border measure, the ATO is responsible for implementation and all compliance activity.

What does this mean for my import reporting requirements?

While border processes will not change, you are advised to consider whether changes to your business processes are necessary.

Vendors registered for GST need to ensure that relevant tax information is included on import documents for low value goods. Vendors can face penalties if they fail to take reasonable steps to meet their reporting requirements.

To help vendors meet their reporting requirements, the Integrated Cargo System[2] will allow, where necessary, the reporting of additional information, including Vendor ID, Importer ID and the use of a GST-paid exemption code. Please refer to External Release Notes 17.4.02, which set out the additional information to report depending on the relevant import document and the information provided by the vendor.

Providing the additional information, particularly the GST-paid exemption code, helps prevent GST from being charged at the border when it has already been charged at the point of sale. If GST is charged a second time at the border, refunds will not be available from the Department of Home Affairs and must be sought from the supplier.

What is not changing?
The AUD1000 threshold for GST, duty and reporting at the border will remain, and there will be no changes to current border clearance processes. The changes will also not impact the flow of goods across the border.

Further, these changes do not apply to tobacco, tobacco products, or alcoholic beverages. These goods will continue to be taxable importations at the border (where customs duty and GST is payable) regardless of their customs value.

Find out more
For more information visit Home Affairs and

[1] Those with a customs value of AUD1,000 or less, excluding tobacco, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.
[2] The Department of Home Affairs reporting platform for the legitimate movement of goods across Australia's borders.