Home – New Forums Logistics Importing goods into Australia(under $1000)

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  • #966118
    L.T.
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    Hi

    I am seeking information on importing into Australia as a business when the value of the goods are under the $1000 limit set by customs.

    A private individual can buy goods over the internet and have them sent to Australia and is not required to pay GST or Duties if they do not break the $1000 limit.

    My question does this rule apply to small business also?

    I have called customs and they said yes over the phone and I did talk to an accountant yesterday and he wasn’t sure..

    So does anyone actually no the ruling for an ABN holder?

    #1016143
    Martin
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    Hi L.T.
    I hope that my post will give you the answer you were after

    Customs was correct in saying that that also applies to companies. This is only if the value of the goods being posted (only by that method) do not pass the current threshold of AUD 1000. Remember that Customs only consider the cost of the goods and DO NOT consider and/or take the cost of freight for assesing this parcel.

    Above “concession” DO NOT apply if you import spirits and/or tobacco products. If so then you would pay duty and GST as per a normal import entry.

    In regards of ABN, I’ve attached a useful link from ATO which explains it all

    http://www.ato.gov.au/nonprofit/content.asp?doc=/content/33867.htm&page=3&H3=&pc=&mnu=44404&mfp=001/004&st=&cy=

    Good luck with your business, in fact I am also starting mine as an Intl. Trade/Customs Consultant in 2010.

    Regards

    #1016144
    L.T.
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    I rang the Tax office today and was referred to one of their brochures(3124).

    I have not registered my new business for GST and was told by ATO that if I did import product to Australia and it was under the $1000 limit there would be no GST or Duty to pay in this case.

    So it looks like if I import in chunks below $1000 I will be ok. The sort of product I am importing has a unit price of around $10 au so I can bring in 80 or so at a time and get the whole shipment including freight into au and still be under the $1000 limit.

    #1016145
    AquaGirl
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    Hi

    I found out we dont need to apply for GST until we are making about 50k, however we need an ABN for contact with the suppliers, since we dont have VAT numbers and resale licences, which they use in the UK and US

    I’ll also be getting my products by post and i dont need to spend more than 1000 either. Any suggestions on best method to pay the suppliers without risking not getting product?

    Also, how is it possible to stop someone from using the same suppliers if they like your products and then buying more product from them and distributing to major dept stores (possibly getting sole rights for the products since they can spend more and running you out of business) ?

    Linda

    #1016146
    Martin
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    Hi LT, that is correct if you dont go above that level then there is no need for GST registration but remember if it happens to have GST payable then you will not be able to recover that cost off your product

    Best method of payment will be always depending on your relationship with your supplier. I suspect that because of the low value of your imports, your suppliers will request payment prior importation of the product unless that you could arrange a different method. Tips for making sure that you are getting what you want without giving your money away? Try to make a research about your supplier first, if you want off ebay or alibaba you will see their feedbacks from other buyers for example…

    Stopping someone to buy off the same supplier, the only option you would have is getting a contract as the agent in Australia, but it will be difficult to obtain unless that you buy in big quantities or you do have a good supply chain already established..other than that can’t see that happening

    Make sure you do buy stuff (dont know what you are buying) which are original, you dont want to buy copyright products which will end up at Customs hands….

    Cheers

    #1016147
    Accounts Studio
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    If you want to investigate the background of your suppliers to check their reliability you should be able to go to the Australian Embassy in that country and either they should be able to do a check and find you someone who can.

    #1016148
    AquaGirl
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    Martin, post: 18519 wrote:
    Hi LT, that is correct if you dont go above that level then there is no need for GST registration but remember if it happens to have GST payable then you will not be able to recover that cost off your product

    Best method of payment will be always depending on your relationship with your supplier. I suspect that because of the low value of your imports, your suppliers will request payment prior importation of the product unless that you could arrange a different method. Tips for making sure that you are getting what you want without giving your money away? Try to make a research about your supplier first, if you want off ebay or alibaba you will see their feedbacks from other buyers for example…

    Stopping someone to buy off the same supplier, the only option you would have is getting a contract as the agent in Australia, but it will be difficult to obtain unless that you buy in big quantities or you do have a good supply chain already established..other than that can’t see that happening

    Make sure you do buy stuff (dont know what you are buying) which are original, you dont want to buy copyright products which will end up at Customs hands….

    Cheers

    Hi Martin

    thanks for the useful comments. i was wondering then, even if i dont earn more than 50k, if i need to make orders over $1000 at any time, do i need to register for gst then since i’ll need to pay duties and gst?
    also, i thought i read that if i imported by post, the postage costs were included in the $1000.. is that right?

    im importing clothes in case youre wondering. i contacted aqis and even though my imports wont be prohibited or wood items, they said every consignment goes through inspection and theres a cost for that. (is that just for air and sea freights or post too?) im lazy to email again lol

    so i could just send a cheque or money order for the products or is there a standard form for importing by post? i saw one for sea freight parcels but it seems to be a whole different standard.

    yeah, im definitely not buying big quantities so i cant see myself being the sole supplier. (though if i find 8 designers i like and someone opens a shop after me and uses the same 8 designers and offers cheaper prices surely theres legal action that can be taken?!)
    the stuff i will buy are definitely original so have no concerns about that…

    how much would if cost for insurance approx, if they add it to the invoice?

    thanks heaps and good luck with your business

    Linda

    #1016149
    perthphotobooths
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    Hi Linda

    You don’t need to register for GST, you pay the GST on your goods and can claim it back as part of your costs, so if you pay $100 plus $10 GST for your supplies, you claim $110. Just remember that if you don’t register for GST, you cannot charge your customers GST. So your invoices must be invoices and not tax invoices. Those that are GST registered cannot claim GST back straight away- they need to offset their GST payments with GST receipts then they either pay the difference or get a refund when they do their tax.

    If you are buying your goods from Asia, it’s most likely that they will want you to make a Telegraphic Transfer for the full amount, before they send you the goods. You do it in a bank and it costs about $35 each time. This is very risky, as once the money leaves your account you won’t have any recourse if the supplier doesn’t send you the goods and runs off with your money. Just make sure you know that your supplier is reliable before sending any money.

    Regarding your question about someone else opening up a shop after you- I don’t see why they couldn’t, as you probably wouldn’t have sole distribution rights.

    I’m not a lawyer or an accountant, so I could be wrong about my advice. But I hope this helps you.

    Tam

    #1016150
    AquaGirl
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    perthphotobooths, post: 18711 wrote:
    Hi Linda

    You don’t need to register for GST, you pay the GST on your goods and can claim it back as part of your costs, so if you pay $100 plus $10 GST for your supplies, you claim $110. Just remember that if you don’t register for GST, you cannot charge your customers GST. So your invoices must be invoices and not tax invoices. Those that are GST registered cannot claim GST back straight away- they need to offset their GST payments with GST receipts then they either pay the difference or get a refund when they do their tax.

    If you are buying your goods from Asia, it’s most likely that they will want you to make a Telegraphic Transfer for the full amount, before they send you the goods. You do it in a bank and it costs about $35 each time. This is very risky, as once the money leaves your account you won’t have any recourse if the supplier doesn’t send you the goods and runs off with your money. Just make sure you know that your supplier is reliable before sending any money.

    Regarding your question about someone else opening up a shop after you- I don’t see why they couldn’t, as you probably wouldn’t have sole distribution rights.

    I’m not a lawyer or an accountant, so I could be wrong about my advice. But I hope this helps you.

    Tam

    Hi Tam

    thats really useful info.. thanks so much. i dont think my customers will complain if theyre not charged gst :)

    so with telegraphic transfers, theres no way to get money back if u dont get the goods? is there a less risky way for both supplier and buyer to do this?
    how would you know if a supplier is trustworthy, especially if you dont buy off ebay or the typical places that advertise manufacturers?

    are you starting your own business too? if so how is it all going?

    cheers
    Linda

    #1016151
    Accounts Studio
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    Just to clarify the above poster’s comment regarding GST – you cannot claim
    back the GST on importing if you are not registered for GST. Which means if you do want to claim it back, you would need to register and as a result charge your customers GST. You can’t claim back but not charge it.

    Another way you could consider paying would be by credit card – I believe that with most credit cards if you purchase something online, rather than the supplier having a personally signed credit card docket from you, then you should be able to claim a refund if you did not get the goods. The credit card company would ask you to provide any written communication etc and would ask the same of the supplier but generally they work in the favour of the purchaser. Check with your credit card company.

    Re knowing whether the supplier is trustworthy – either ask the embassy in that country to check or ask the supplier for references – and contact them for their experiences. It also depends on which country you are importing from to a certain degree – you will find some countries view honesty very highly and would as a general rule never consider tricking you. But then again there are others that would!

    #1016152
    AquaGirl
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    Ideas Book, post: 18810 wrote:
    Just to clarify the above poster’s comment regarding GST – you cannot claim
    back the GST on importing if you are not registered for GST. Which means if you do want to claim it back, you would need to register and as a result charge your customers GST. You can’t claim back but not charge it.

    Another way you could consider paying would be by credit card – I believe that with most credit cards if you purchase something online, rather than the supplier having a personally signed credit card docket from you, then you should be able to claim a refund if you did not get the goods. The credit card company would ask you to provide any written communication etc and would ask the same of the supplier but generally they work in the favour of the purchaser. Check with your credit card company.

    Re knowing whether the supplier is trustworthy – either ask the embassy in that country to check or ask the supplier for references – and contact them for their experiences. It also depends on which country you are importing from to a certain degree – you will find some countries view honesty very highly and would as a general rule never consider tricking you. But then again there are others that would!

    Sophie, thank you sooo much. Your tips are always extremely useful!

    i’ll go with the credit card idea… saves me paying about $35 for transactions too :) now i just need to check with each supplier if they accept credit card for wholesale.. dont know why they shouldnt

    i’ll also check with our embassy about the suppliers..

    thanks again :)

    Linda

    #1016153
    cwimages
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    Hey I was just reading your post and thought id add something: Remember that the $1000 limit is worked out when customs recieves your package; in other words if the exchange rate has changed between when you bought the items and when customs recieves your package, customs will go with the latter, so beware and dont cut thigs too close to the $1000. Also this amount is goods only, customs does not take in the postage fee into this amount.
    Best of luck!!

    L.T., post: 18123 wrote:
    Hi

    I am seeking information on importing into Australia as a business when the value of the goods are under the $1000 limit set by customs.

    A private individual can buy goods over the internet and have them sent to Australia and is not required to pay GST or Duties if they do not break the $1000 limit.

    My question does this rule apply to small business also?

    I have called customs and they said yes over the phone and I did talk to an accountant yesterday and he wasn’t sure..

    So does anyone actually no the ruling for an ABN holder?

    #1016154
    Convergence
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    PayPal is also a more secure way to pay for goods overseas. You can link a PayPal account to your credit card then use it to send and receive payments world wide.

    #1016155
    sixx
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    The customs fees school of thought can sometimes be more beneficial depending on the product and exporters terms.

    T-shirts and other small ticket import items I have seen drop as much as 10% per 100 or so items.

    So even looking @ 5% discount per $1,000.00 you could end up well infront.

    If you were to import 100 t-shirts @ $9.99 for a total cost of $999.00 you would stay under the customs threshold.
    You now have 100 t-shirts to be sold @ $25.00 each for a return difference of $1,501.00.

    If you were to import $5,000.00 worth of t-shirts that dropped 5% per unit cost each 100 extra units you bought (ie: 1-100/$9.99 per unit, 101-200/$9.49 per unit, 201-300/$9.01 and so on ..) you would be looking at circa $7.73 per unit giving you an extra 146 t-shirts than you would of had if you were to import 100 t-shirts on five seperate occassions to avoid tarriffs and effectively (@ $25.00 a pop retail) put you $3,650.00 out infront.
    Subtract the $815.00 GST and customs taxes from this and you are $2,835.00 in the black.

    Shipping charges is another thing that may be reduced as you purchase more but won’t affect your tarriffs.

    Just sayin’ :P

    #1016156
    Ails68
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    Hi there,

    Not sure if anyone can help me, I have been doing my research about importing goods into Australia(under $1000). But not certain if the customs have given me right information.

    I am looking at going to the Philippines and buying the goods and taking the goods back to Australia. I have emailed Customs and they said I can do that as long as it is under $1000 I will not pay GST.

    Do I need an import license to start this business? I only want to sell ladies accessories such as bangles, necklaces, rings, and even some ladies tops. I am not intending on setting up a shop, just selling them at a local market every weeekend. If I decide to post the products via mail, would the cost of freight be included to the $1000? or only goods?

    We have an ABN number and GST registered, as we have a lawn mowing business. This importing business is only a top up as lawn mowing is seasonal where we live.

    Any suggestions or advice will help. Thank you very much.

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