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    Australia

    Buying over the internet

     

    Things you buy over the internet will have the same rules, duties and screening processes applied as any other import.

    You need to know that:

    • For goods that are worth equal to or under AUD1,000, there are no duties, taxes or charges to pay.
    • For goods that are worth more than AUD1,000, you will need to fill out a special form called an Import Declaration, and pay duties, taxes and charges.
    • You will need to pay duties and taxes on some goods (like tobacco or alcohol) regardless of their value
    • Certain types of goods are not allowed to be brought into Australia, or else need special permits.

    What can I import?

    To find out more about what you can and cannot bring into Australia, seeProhibited and restricted imports.

    We may screen, x-ray or examine these goods just like any other imported goods to make sure the goods are allowed into Australia. The Department of Agriculture may also need to clear and inspect your goods before they can be delivered to you.

    What will it cost?

    How much the goods are worth, and how they arrive in Australia, will determine how we clear them for delivery to you and what duty, taxes and charges may apply.

    Sometimes goods bought over the internet from an Australian company may be sent to you directly from overseas. You may have to pay duty and taxes when this happens.

    Goods with a value of AUD1,000 or less

    You do not have to pay duty and taxes on goods (excluding tobacco, tobacco products and alcohol) with a value of under AUD1,000. These are called low value imports.

    If these goods arrive in Australia by air or sea cargo, they must have a Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) Declaration. This will generally be taken care of by the cargo company. There is no charge for this declaration.

    Goods arriving by post do not require a SAC declaration.

    For more information, see Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) declarations.

    For more information, see Importing goods by post.

    Goods with a value of more than AUD1,000

    To import goods with a value over AUD1000, you need to make an Import Declaration. The import declaration provides information about the goods you are importing.

    There is a processing charge for making an Import Declaration. You will also be required to pay the duty and taxes for your goods.

    You may wish to use the services of a licensed customs broker to help you import your goods.

    To find out more about how duty and taxes are calculated, visit Calculating duty and taxes.

    To find out more about charges and fees, visit Import fees and charges.

    To find out more about making an Import Declaration, visit Import Declarations.

    I paid Customs duty on goods I imported but I returned them to the supplier because, “I changed my mind”, “they don’t fit”, or “I don’t like them”. Can I get a refund of the duty?

    No. Unfortunately, “a change of mind”, “how they fit”, or “simply not liking them”, is not a refund circumstance under the legislation.

    However, as an alternative option if you export the imported goods, subject to certain conditions, you may be entitled to a drawback of the duty paid.

    For information on Drawbacks, go to the Export Concessions Duty Drawback Scheme fact sheet.

    Before you buy online

    Gas and electrical goods

    Gas and electrical goods that do not meet Australian safety and technical standards may be a serious safety risk. Those for sale online from overseas may not meet Australia’s standards. Some goods, like barbeques and personal grooming items, may not be able to be modified to meet the Australian standards.

    Pirated and counterfeit goods

    If you buy pirated or counterfeit items, you are buying a flawed product and supporting an illegal trade that could involve serious criminal activity and harm. You can help to combat copyright piracy and counterfeiting of trade marks by not bringing these goods into Australia.

    In some cases, Customs and Border Protection will seize imported pirated and counterfeit goods.  

    Importing and selling counterfeit goods is illegal and can result in prosecution.

    To find out more about pirated and counterfeit goods, visit Counterfeiting and piracy

     

    Canada

    

    Overview

    Import duty and taxes are due when importing goods into Canada whether by a private individual or a commercial entity. The duty valuation method is FOB (Free on Board), which means that the import duty is calculated exclusively on the value of the imported goods.  In addition to duty, imports may be subject to other taxes such as GST/PST/HST and excise. 

    Duty Rates

    Duty rates in Canada range between 0% and 35%, where the average duty rate is 8.56%.  Some goods are not subject to duty (e.g. certain electronic products, antiques, etc.).  

    Preferential duty rates

    Canada has signed free trade agreements with a number of countries.  To be entitled to preferential tariff treatment, a good must meet the "originating" criteria as set out on the Rules of Origin of individual FTAs.  A certificate of origin is required upon importation, when the value of an import is greater than CA$1600, for preferential duty rates to apply. 

    NB: 

    • If the benefit of preferential tariff treatment under NAFTA, CCFTA, CCRFTA, CPFTA or CCOFTA is claimed for casual goods (i.e. goods other than commercial goods), the importer and owner of the goods are exempt from the Certificate of Origin requirements, provided that certain conditions are met. 
    • If the benefit of preferential tariff treatment under NAFTA, CCFTA, CCRFTA, CPFTA or CCOFTA is claimed for commercial goods whose estimated value for duty is less than $1,600, the importer and owner of the goods are exempt from the Certificate of Origin requirements, provided that certain conditions are met.

    Sales Tax

    In Canada there are three types of sales tax: a federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) at a rate of 5%, a provincial sales tax (PST) which rate varies by province, and a combination of both, a Harmonised Sales Tax (HST) Commercial importers are only subject to GST.  Private importers are subject to GST, PST or HST. Sales tax is calculated based on the sum of the value of the goods, the duty, and the excise duty (if applicable). The amount of sales tax due depends on the place of residence of the importer rather than on the location where the goods enter Canada. The table below outlines the sales tax rates in the different provinces:

    Province

    Code

    Sales
    tax type

    Provincial
    rate

    Combined effective rate

    Alberta

    AB

    GST

    0%

    5%

    British Columbia

    BC

    GST + PST

    7%

    12%

    Manitoba

    MB

    GST + PST

    8%

    13%

    New Brunswick

    NB

    HST

    10%

    15%

    Newfoundland and Labrador

    NL

    HST

    10%

    15%

    Northwest Territories

    NT

    GST

    0%

    5%

    Nova Scotia

    NS

    HST

    10%

    15%

    Nunavut

    NU

    GST

    0%

    5%

    Ontario

    ON

    HST

    8%

    13%

    Prince Edward Island

    PE

    GST + PST

    10%

    15%

    Quebec

    QC

    GST + QST

    9.975%

    14.975%

    Saskatchewan

    SK

    GST + PST

    5%

    10%

    Yukon

    YT

    GST

    0%

    5%

     

    Minimum thresholds

    Duty and GST/PST/HST are not charged if the FOB value, i.e. the value of the goods excluding shipping and insurance cost, does not exceed CA$20.00.  

    Other taxes and custom fees

    Excise fee is applicable on alcohol and tobacco products.  It is based on FOB but also on quantity measurements and alcohol content in case of alcohol products.

    Duty and tax refunds
     
    In case of overpayment of duty and taxes or returns of imported products to the seller, the importer might be entitled to a duty and tax refund.  The relevant information and requirements can be found here.


    Local Customs office and contacts

    More information on import declaration procedures and import restrictions can be found atCanada Border Agency Services.

     

     EUROPEAN UNION

    Buying goods online coming from a non-European Union country

    As regards information displayed on this page, the Island of Heligoland, the territories of Büsingen, Ceuta, Melilla, Livigno, Campione d'Italia and the Italian waters of Lake Lugano are subject to the same rules as non-EU countries.

    As soon as you buy a product from a non-EU country, then effectively you become an importer and become liable to Customs and Excise Duty as well as Value Added Tax (VAT) payments. If the terms of sale do not specify another arrangement, the goods would normally be held by the Customs Authority at entry, pending the payment of duty and tax.

    Customs officers examine packages arriving from outside the EU in order to:

    • check for prohibited or restricted goods - such as illicit drugs,
    • confirm that the description and value stated on the Customs Declaration is correct and
    • check the Customs Declaration to determine if Customs Duty, Excise Duty and/or Import VAT are chargeable.

     

    Warnings

     

    Customs duty

    On the basis of the data provided in the customs declaration, the supporting documents that accompany it and any information which they may request, the competent customs officers determine, impose and collect Customs duties that are due.

    Customs duty is calculated as a percentage of the customs value of the goods:

    See how the customs value is calculated in the EU Member States.

    Customs Duty is not due for goods, provided directly to the buyer when their value does not exceed 150 euros.

    This exception does not apply to perfumes and toilet waters, tobacco or tobacco products and alcoholic products which are subject to special limits on the quantity provided.

     

    VAT

    The import VAT is calculated as a percentage (VAT rate) of the taxable amount.

    • The VAT rate is the one applicable in the country where the goods are being delivered.

    You can check the VAT rates applied in each countrySearch for available translations of the preceding link.

    • The taxable amount is made up of the customs value plus the duty paid and the transportation and insurance costs up to the first place of destination within the EU.

    VAT is not due when the total value of all goods in a consignment (value not inclusive of customs duties or transport costs) is less than a threshold. The threshold may vary from 10 euros to 22 euros, depending on the EU country. For an overview see the pie chart below (information available for 24 Member States). Certain countries (like Sweden and Poland) however, exclude mail orders from the exemption.  This exception does not apply to tobacco or tobacco products and alcoholic products.

    The import VAT may either be included into the overall delivery price or not.

    • If the import VAT is not included in the price paid to the seller (which is the common situation), you will have to pay it to the postal company or express courier, or directly to the customs if you clear the goods at customs yourself. In the latter case, the procedure differs according to the country.
    • If you pay all inclusive, you will be paying import VAT to the seller when paying the total price. But if the import VAT is not properly estimated by the seller, or if the seller fails to ensure the transfer of this VAT amount to the customs, you must be aware that national legislation can hold you jointly liable.
       
    You should check with your national tax administration (national links/websites), which has the competence in this matter.

     

    Excise duty

    The goods will be held by the Customs Authority at entry into your country, pending the payment of excise duty.

    Rates of excise duty are set by each individual Member State. See the applicable rates for alcoholic beveragesSearch for available translations of the preceding link and tobacco productsSearch for available translations of the preceding link.

    See which EU Member States apply excise duty exemptions for small gifts.

    You should check with your national tax administration (national links/websites), which has the competence in this matter.

    Cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco must bear health warnings and fiscal marks, and containers of spirits that are larger than 35cl must bear a duty stamp.

     

    The Customs Declaration

    The Customs Declaration provides information to the Customs authorities about the goods that you are importing.

    This declaration must be submitted by a person established in the EU or his representative who is able to present the goods to customs. In the ordinary case this could be the buyer, the company that ships the goods or the carrier who acts as a representative.

    See national rules and procedures applicable to customs declarations.

    You should check with your national CUSTOMS administration (national links/websites), which has the competence in this matter.

    If you are the person who submits the Customs Declaration, a courier company may offer to make the declaration on your behalf, but there is normally a charge for this service.

    If you are not the person who submits the Customs Declaration, you should verify with the supplier that it is submitted.

    The Customs Declaration should indicate correctly the nature of the goods and their value not taking into account taxes, charges, transport or other additional costs.

    Some commercial websites will offer to show a value on the Customs Declaration that is much lower than the actual price paid so that the customer does not have to pay duty and/or VAT when the goods enter the Member State of import. It is in the customer's own interest to make sure that the declaration has been submitted and is accurate. If no declaration is made, or the information in it was found to be inaccurate, the acceptance of the declaration, and thus the delivery of the package to the receiver may be delayed or even not take place as the Customs officials are entitled to make further enquiries and impose penalties and sanctions as the case may be. The packages sent by post have to be accompanied by a CN22 or CN23 Declaration, as required by the special rules of the universal postal service.

    The Customs Authority in your country is entitled to open and examine any package if it considers this appropriate. Packages might even be seized by Customs and, when appropriate, destroyed.

     

    Customs clearance fees

    The customs clearance is the documented permission to pass that the national customs authority grants to the imported goods.

    The customs clearance is typically given to a shipping agent to prove that all applicable customs duties have been paid and the shipment has been approved.

    The shipping provider may charge a customs clearance fee or customs handling fee for processing the import declaration, an advancement fee for paying the duty and VAT on behalf of the recipient, an airline handling fee for loading and unloading the goods, a security fee for screening or x-raying the goods and a fee for preparing the customs declaration.

    These charges will vary from company to company.

    When goods are brought into the European Union by postal operators such additional charges are limited to the costs of the customs clearance procedure.

    Member States cannot impose charges related to customs clearance higher than the actual costs incurred.

     

    HONG KONG 

    What items are taxable on import into the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and what items are subject to export tax?

     

    In general, imports into HKSAR are tax-free except:

    There is no tax or excise duty on exports from HKSAR.

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    과세와 면세

    면세대상

    다음의 우편물은 면세 받으실 수 있으며, 면세범위를 초과하는 물품은 세금을 납부하셔야 합니다.

    • 국내거주자가 수취하는 물품가격 미화 150달러 이하의 물품으로서 자가사용으로 인정되는 물품
    • 과세가격 미화 250불이하의 물품으로서 견품으로 사용될 것으로 인정되는 물품
    • 박람회 기타 이에 준하는 행사에 참가하는 자가 회장 안에서 관람자에게 무상으로 제공할 목적으로 수입하는 물품 중 관람자 1인당 미화 5불상당액 이하의 것으로 세관장이 타당하다고 인정하는 물품
    • 관세의 감면을 받을 수 있는 물품
    • 관세가 무세인 물품
    • 다만, 소액면세를 받기 위해 소액면세범위로 여러 건을 수입하는 경우 등에 해당하는 경우에는 관련규정에 의거 세금이 부과됩니다.
    • 해외공급자가 동일한 경우
      • 동일 날짜에 2건 이상을 수입신고하는 경우 : 합산과세
      • 날짜를 달리하여 1건씩 수입시고하는 경우 : 자가사용으로 인정되면 개별면세하되, 사후 전산자료 등을 분석하여 부당면세 혐의가 있으면 추징 조치
    • 해외 공급자가 상이한 경우
      • 동일날짜에 2이상의 해외공급자로부터 동일물품을 수입하는 경우 : 합산과세

     

    과세대상

    • 물품가격 미화 150달러 이하의 물품이라 하더라도 자가사용으로 인정되지 않는 물품
    • 국내거주자가 수취하는 물품으로서 물품가격 미화 150달러를 초과하는 물품
    • 견본품으로서 과세가격 미화 250불을 초과하는 물품