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A cross-border guide to Australian ecommerce, shipping, and importing goods

If you are looking to grow your ecommerce business into Australia ūüá¶ūüáļ Attribution for Twitter Emojis: ¬©ÔłŹ Twitter, Inc., you‚Äôve come to the right place. In our guide, created by Zonos' cross-border experts, you will find the following:

Zonos grade for Australia’s ease of importing goods: A 

Ease of doing business 5/5

  • Although Australia is in remotely located, it has few trade barriers. Its sophisticated consumers and well-developed, internationally-familiar market, and well-established legal system make it favorable for doing business.
  • Australia views foreign investments as crucial to economic growth and productivity.

Landed cost fairness 5/5

  • Australia has a high de minimis and relatively low GST and duty rates which are favorable for low-value orders.

Flexibility of legal regulations 3/5

  • Australia has a low-value tax law that requires retailers to register and remit taxes if they sell above a set threshold.

Availability and accessibility of shipping 5/5

  • All major carriers offer shipping services to Australia, allowing for easy access.

Accessibility and variety of payment methods 5/5

  • Australia uses various digital payment methods, including Mastercard, VISA, American Express, PayPal, ZIP, POLi, and buy now pay later.

Market opportunity 5/5

  • Australia‚Äôs population and high percentage of internet users provide a potentially successful economy for retailers.

Key stats for Australia 

Population26 million (2022)
GDP1.55 USD trillion (2022)
GDP per capita$59,341 USD (2022)
Internet penetration91% of the population use the internet (2022)
Ecommerce users77% of the population shop online (2022)
Leading categoriesFashion, homeware, and media
Preferred online payment methodCredit card and digital wallet
LanguagesEnglish
CurrencyAustralian dollar, AUD, A$

Landed cost for Australia 

The landed cost for a cross-border transaction includes all duties, taxes, and fees associated with the purchase. This includes:

  • Product price
  • Shipping
  • Duties
  • Taxes
  • Fees (currency conversion, carrier, broker, customs, or government fees)

Australian de minimis, tax, and duty

Terms to know
  • FOB: FOB (freight on board or free on board) is a valuation method for calculating import taxes or duties where the fees are calculated only on the cost of the goods sold. FOB is not calculated on the shipping, duty, insurance, etc.
  • CIF: CIF (cost, insurance, freight) is a valuation method for calculating import taxes where the tax is calculated on the cost of the goods, plus the cost of packing, freight, insurance, and seller's commission.

Further explanation of de minimis, tax, and duty provided below

Duty and tax de minimis

  • Tax de minimis: 1,000 AUD
  • Duty de minimis: 1,000 AUD Applied to the FOB value of the goods

De minimis value

Duty and tax will be charged only on imports into Australia where the total FOB value of the import exceeds Australia’s minimum value threshold (de minimis), which is 1,000 AUD. Anything under the tax de minimis value will be considered a tax-free import, and anything under the duty de minimis value will be considered a duty-free import.

Australia’s low-value tax scheme

Australia has a low-value tax scheme, also known as the Simplified GST law. For online retailers, if you sell, or expect to sell, over 75,000 AUD to Australian customers within a 12-month period, you are required to remit GST directly to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) via a Simplified GST for Importers process.

Goods and services tax (GST)

  • Standard rate: 10% Applied to the CIF value of the goods

GST

The standard import GST rate for Australia is 10% applied to the CIF value of the goods. Again, if you are a business and have a GST turnover of 75,000 AUD or more, then you will have to register for GST and remit taxes.

Average duty rate

  • Average duty rate: 5% Applied to the FOB value of the goods

Import duty

The general import duty rate in Australia is estimated at 5% and is applied to the FOB value of the goods.

Other import fees

Import Processing Charge (IPC) and Full Import Declaration (FID) charges

These fees cover the costs of processing import declarations and assessing the risks associated with the imported goods.

  • IPC: This is a fee levied on importers for processing import declarations. The cost depends on the type of import declaration and the mode of transport used for shipping. As of July 1, 2021, the IPC rates are as follows:

    • For sea cargo, the charge is 102.60 AUD per declaration.

    • For air and postal cargo, the charge is 50 AUD per declaration.

  • FID charge: This is a fee charged for submitting a Full Import Declaration to the Australian Border Force (ABF) when importing goods into Australia. The FID charge is typically included in the IPC mentioned above.

It's essential to note that other fees may apply when importing goods into Australia. These charges will depend on the type and value of the goods being imported. Additionally, extra fees may apply for customs broker services, freight forwarding, and other import-related services.

Landed cost examples

Below are sample landed cost breakdowns for Australia calculated using Zonos Quoter:

Landed cost for a shipment to Australia below the de minimis value:

Landed cost for a shipment to Australia below the de minimis
value

Landed cost for a shipment to Australia above the de minimis value:

Landed cost for a shipment to Australia above the de minimis
value

Landed cost for a shipment to Australia
quote

Trade agreements

Australia has at least 17 trade agreements that offer a zero or highly discounted duty rate for goods manufactured in participating countries.

Australia is a member of the World Trade Organization

As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Australia must abide by the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause, which requires a country to provide any concessions, privileges, or immunities granted to one nation in a trade agreement to all other WTO member countries. For example, if one country reduces duties by 10% for a particular WTO country, the MFN clause states that all WTO members will receive the same 10% reduction.


Customs resources 

Australia's Customs authority

Australian Border Force

Customs refund in Australia

Claiming a customs refund in Australia

Talk to your carrier about customs refunds.


Shipping and compliance 

Top courier services:

  • DHL Express
  • FedEx
  • UPS
  • USPS
  • Toll Group
  • TNT Australia
  • StarTrack Courier
  • MyParcelDelivery
  • AusPost

Depending on the courier, additional shipping fees may include:

  • Tracking
  • Insurance
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Remote delivery charge
  • Signature fee
  • Overweight or oversized fee
  • Special handling fee
  • Dangerous goods fee
  • etc.

Documentation and paperwork

Always needed:

Sometimes needed:

Prohibited, restricted, and controlled imports into Argentina

Government agencies regulate imports.

Restricted items are different from prohibited items. Prohibited items are not allowed to be imported into a country at all. Restricted items are not allowed to be imported into a country unless the importer has approval or a special license. Controlled goods have military or national security significance.

Prohibited items:

  • Anabolic and androgenic substances
  • Ceramic ware
  • Woolpacks
  • Tobacco and tobacco products
  • Asbestos
  • Nuclear material
  • Body armor, warfare, and weapons
  • Cat and dog fur products
  • Pornography and objectionable material
  • Explosives
  • ANZAC
  • Fish
  • Laser pointers
  • And more

Restricted items:

Foreign-grown agricultural commodities must undergo a biosecurity import risk analysis (BIRA) process before entering the country.

  • Fresh produce
  • Meat and poultry products
  • Food products
  • Drugs
  • Steroids
  • Weapons/firearms
  • Heritage items
  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Protected wildlife

Tips for exporting from Australia 

How to export from Australia


Next steps

  • Decoding South Korea- Graded an A by Zonos cross-border experts, South Korea may be a good place to expand your sales. Learn all about importing goods and South Korean customs regulations in this guide.
  • Decoding the Philippines - If you‚Äôre looking to expand your sales into international markets, the Philippines may be a good place to consider. Learn all about Philippine import regulations in our country guide.
  • Decoding St. Lucia - Branching out into new markets can be scary, but fret not; Zonos provides information on trade barriers, import regulations, and more for many countries, including St. Lucia.

FAQ

Do I need an Australian Business Number (ABN) to sell online?

An ABN is only needed after your sales into Australia exceed the 75,000 AUD threshold.

References

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