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Changes to Duty Free allowances

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serfty

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This is a copy of what I posted here:

"Duty Free Bonanza at Last" - From Today's Melbourne Herald-Sun

There is really very little change here except for what is effectively an additional restriction of the tobacco product allowance along with a grab for more money should the traveller exceed an allowance.

From 1st February the main "Changes" are:
  • AU$400 duty free limit raised to AU$900.
  • alcohol allowance will double from 1.125 litres to 2.25 litres
  • allowance on tobacco products will remain at 250 cigarettes, or 250g of cigars
  • abolition of a $50 waiver on goods declared in excess of duty-free limits
  • If an allowance is exceeded, duty will have to be paid on all components of that allowance (not sure if this is for all goods or just alcohol or alcohol and tobacco).
Here is the grab for more money:
Unsuspecting travellers could still be hit with costly duty bills, with the abolition of a $50 waiver on goods declared in excess of duty-free limits.

Travellers who exceed the alcohol allowance, for example, currently only pay duty on the bottle which tips the limit.

Under the new system, they will have to pay duty on all the bottles.
It was the $50 waiver on goods that previously enabled international travellers to bring back either:
  1. One or Two extra bottle of alcoholic beverages,
  2. up to an additional AU$500 of dutyable goods or
  3. up to an extra 175 cigarettes/cigars.
The Alcohol option had been widely advertised in duty free stores, the others, especially tobacco was not.

How the waiver worked was that if any additional duty and tax payable totalled less than $50, nothing would be charged. If it totalled $50 or more, the whole amount became payable. i.e.
  • This gave up to an extra $500 on top of the $400 allowance at 10% GST to giving an effecive $900 allowance or
  • an extra 175 cigarettes at approx 26¢ excise plus 1.5¢ GST per stick or
  • extra quantities of alcohol where the total excise/GST did not reach $50.
(These could be mixed, but let's not complicate things.)

What these changes really mean for cigarettes is that you can bring up to 250 back and pay nothing. If you bring 251, you may have to pay almost $70 more. Today you could bring back up to 425 and generally pay nothing extra.

By extending the duty free allowance to $900, they are merely giving back the $50 GST that generally would have been waived anyway.

This doubling of the alcohol allowance is really the only gain, and only if you bring back up to $900 worth of duty free items as well.

The article does not indicate what is to happen if you bring back $950 worth of duty free goods. Do you pay GST on the $50 excess or on the whole $950?[/url]
 

Julie Williams

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Hello
I left a posting under this months newsletter regarding this too.
Realistically the only benefit is the possibility of going through the Green Line instead of the Red line if you have two bottle of grog!!!!!
Julie
 

serfty

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Julie Williams said:
Hello
I left a posting under this months newsletter regarding this too.
Realistically the only benefit is the possibility of going through the Green Line instead of the Red line if you have two bottle of grog!!!!!
Julie
I never had to do this, ever.

I simply declared my two bottles OR two cartons (Never had 2 of each) and my card was marked green all the way...
 

Julie Williams

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Hello :D

I think that I cause a lot of hassles at the airport as I travel with large groups of disable people in wheelchairs (sever disabilities) and I think we overwhelm the staff there!!!!!

Especially if there are 20 of us in the group and I have a trolley with 40 bottles of alcohol and 20 cartons of smokes!!!!!! They check to make sure that I'm not buying too much!

They probably think it is easier to check stuff that give me the green light????

At least now with the duty free allowance being the two bottles you know there is not going to be a problem.

Going away tomorrow so it will be interesting to see how the new system works in reality and see if anyone gets caught out at the Customs Declaration area.

Happy Travelling
Julie
 

Julie Williams

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Hello

Back from my overseas trip and reporting in re: duty free - this is what my husband and I found.

We travelled back from Borneo 8) through Singapore and asked the Singapore Duty Free Shop how much tobacoo we could bring in. The Assistant stated we could bring in 2 bottles of alcohol and two cartons or boxes of tobacco. We verified this several times to make sure he understood. :wink:

We bought -
4 x 1 litre bottles - total 4 litres (0.5 litres under our limit) and
4 x 250mg of tobacco (4 boxes of 5 x 50mgs)

When we filled in our customs forms (which still have the 1.125ml allowance printed on them), we filled in that 'yes' we had items to declare.

We advised the Immigration Officer who stamped our form and he said we would be over the limit with our tobacco and to see a Customs Officer at Declaration (Red Line).

At Customs the Customs Officer asked about our holiday what we did etc and what we had to declare. We showed her and she said that's okay and let us go.

Now this really doesn't answer whether we can bring in the 2nd tobacco product as a duty free declared item or that the Customs Office was just having a nice day!

But we got the extra in so we were happy and didn't have to pay any extra duty!

Julie :D
 

serfty

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Julie Williams said:
... We showed her and she said that's okay and let us go.

Now this really doesn't answer whether we can bring in the 2nd tobacco product as a duty free declared item or that the Customs Office was just having a nice day!

But we got the extra in so we were happy and didn't have to pay any extra duty!..
The alcohol would have been fine for the two of you, but you were over the tobacco concession. I would guess the Customs Office was just having a nice day and decided not to charge you excise & GST. :D

The trouble is, when customs are not having a nice day they will ask for the duty to be paid and in your case the two of you would have been up for about $311 excise + 10% GST on the purchase price. :!:

And you are never really going to know whether it's a nice day or not.
 

Mal

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Wish they'd change the declaration forms to reflect the new limits. It's kinda annoying to have to go to the declare lane just because the form asks you if you have more than 1.1L of alkinol, and you do - but still below the amount allowed now.

While I'm sure customs wouldn't care if you didn't declare the extra ... I'm not willing to test them out.
 

Julie Williams

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We had already decided if they wanted to charge us the extra that we would play dumb and leave the tobacco there. In Singapore it was about $20 AUD for each box, so we figured that losing $40 was better than paying the $300 excise etc due. :D

Obviously we wouldn't do this all the time but it is interesting how the rules change each day depending on who is in charge etc :!:
 

redrat

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Julie Williams said:
Hello
I left a posting under this months newsletter regarding this too.
Realistically the only benefit is the possibility of going through the Green Line instead of the Red line if you have two bottle of grog!!!!!
Julie
What red line or green line? It's all the same now - the b###ds. :(
 

Julie Williams

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Hi

I think I always go through the 'Red Line' as I always have a chocolate bar or something and about 2 years ago I got bailed so bad that I thought I was going to gaol becuase I didn't declare a snickers snack size bar!!!!! :oops:

I had totally forgot it was in my back pack so I had all my belingings and, hubbies, belongings and two babies belongings emptied scanned etc after a LAX - SYD flight that had been delay 5 hours (really good with 1 neborn and 15month old!!). :roll:

It was a totally accidental event, as I had filled out the form not even thinking that chocolate fitted under the eggs and honey and meat section of the form.

But it all got sorted out - but didn't think I looked like a drug smuggler!!!!!!!

So this time we got the little bonus :D and can't complain!!!!!!
 

redrat

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What I meant (being Melbourne centric) is that we don't have a red or green line anymore. Just head for the one exit where you have to pass the "does he/she look guilty or innocent" guard.
 

Julie Williams

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What!!!!!!!!

We still have the red and green lines!!!!!!! and there is two of them at each end of the customs area!!!!!!!

Maybe visitors to Sydney look more guilty! :wink:
 

Kiwi Flyer

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redrat said:
What I meant (being Melbourne centric) is that we don't have a red or green line anymore. Just head for the one exit where you have to pass the "does he/she look guilty or innocent" guard.
Maybe not painted red or green but the line bouncer directs you to a different xray machine if you have anything to declare, otherwise line 4 and one of the 2 closest xray machines if nothing to declare.
 

Julie Williams

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Hello Travellers

Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) had article in travel section which stated increase in person items, increase in alcohol and no changes to tobacco purchases.

So to prevent any hassles - buy two bottles, one carton and usual shopping and you won't have any problems (when they change the forms!)

Ciao! :D
 

serfty

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When using the now defunct $50 leeway for Duty free, the best value was with tobacco. Excise on this is so high that you would save about $80-$90 when bringing back two cartons (200's). Two bottles of spirits would save a about $35-$40 and if you used the leeway for general goods you could save upto that $50 amount.

So this change is costing me money.

I get really annoyed when the changes are touted as beneficial for travellers, when in fact, customs are actually raking in more revenue than before.
 

kpc

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serfty said:
So this change is costing me money.
...could also be adding a few years to your life :wink:
from your GP :!:
 
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