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WARNING! Duty Free allowance into Australia

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Rick93, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. Rick93

    Rick93 Established Member

    Nov 10, 2002
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    Well, didn't I come unstuck recently!
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    I used to go way over the limit, with booze and ciggies....

    Recently, I bought 3 x 1125mls. bottles of spirits back from NZ (into Sydney)

    I got hit with over $100. in duty tax!!!!

    I offered to 'surrender' one of the bottles, thereby making my imports totally legal, with no duty payable.... oh, no! Too bad, because once you're into their 'holding area' where they are assessing you, they won't let you surrender anything, nor 'turn back' to dump or 'give away' anything excess!!!

    So, I wound up with a $125. bottle of white Jim Beam, that I could of brought in Sydney for about $50. or so (1125mls.)

    Morale of the story....

    STICK TO THE LIMIT OF 2.25litres EXACTLY.... or you'll pay dearly, not just on the one or two bottles excess..... but the WHOLE LOT you have with you!!!!

    (sniff, sniff!!) (tears trickling down my checks).....
     
  2. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    Did you declare them at the gate, or did they find them themselves?

    One of the features of the new limits is that if you go over, you don't just pay for the bottle that tipped it over - you now pay for everything in that duty class (as in your example, the three bottles rather than just the one).
     


  3. serfty

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    Nov 16, 2004
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    As I mentioned on another thread, this is a money making exercise for the government.

    I had a work associate who was about to embark on a honeymoon ask me about the D/F allowances and what about a "you beaut" $2,300 dvd camcorder purchased duty free as a wedding present.

    This was purchased in Melbourne before departure by his soon to be MIL.

    I told him that even with pooling his and his bride's $900 allowances they would be well over the limit and may need to pay up to $230 duty on this on return.

    "Rubbish" said MIL.

    His bride rechecked with the travel agent who (verbally) advised they would only need to pay $50 duty on the amount over $1800, if at all. So off they went.

    When I saw him after his honeymoon he was steaming about having to fork out an extra $350 in duty/excise as they were over both their alcohol & general concessional limits. It was $230 for the camcorder and $120 for the booze.

    MIL reckons it was his fault for declaring the goods! :roll:

    He had complained to the TA who denied advising anything of the kind.
     
  4. NM

    NM
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    Maybe they should have claimed they have used the camcorder extensively while away and hence it has now depreciated in value, to say about $1800. Might be a bit hard if they bought it OS and were only away for a week. But if you use the GST refund on exit or have been OS for a while (perhaps a month or more) it might be worth asking the depreciation question if caught in a similar situation. Perhaps 10-20% depreciation might be considered acceptable - but I guess it depends on the mood of the agent.
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    There are bins in the airports and on planes for a reason people....

    :twisted:

    The day the government starts spending my taxes wiseley is the day I will stop beating the system :2cents
     


  6. dajop

    dajop Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2002
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    If you open the extra bottles of alcohol .. hic ... and have a few swigs on the plane .... hic .... does this count towards the allowance..... hic ...or is it separate?
     
  7. Rick93

    Rick93 Established Member

    Nov 10, 2002
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    I actually DECLARED, and went off to the RED gate. I saw the Customs Officer... he asked me what did I want to declare. I told him "a few extra bottles" (even though they got me for having three bottles totaling 3.375 litres, I actually had MORE in my carry bag!!!)

    I was then directed to the DUTY COLLECTOR counter, where the guy looked up my particular bottles, read off a table, and told me the duty would be for $XXX.

    I started to argue, but then though "sh*T!!!" I've got all that extra in my other bag!!!! "OK, thank you officer..."

    Lucky they didn't want to 'search' me (do they have free internet in Long Bay?)

    regards,
     
  8. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
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    The new limits have made customs "go hard" on collections. If you do declare, say a new camera, and it is over the duty free limit (single or joint - kids are half) and it is taken out of the box, customs will normally apply a 20% depreciation, less the DFA, prior to calculating the duty. They are normally pretty good about doing it in my experience. If in doubt make sure you say it's "out of the box and been used" and check they have allowed the first years' depreciation in their calculations.

    Also, despite them saying the customs xray is for quarantine, they have often commented on my "2 bottles"...so depending on who is looking, they look at more than quarantine.

    Also, I have also found the "nothing to declare" lane is often staffed with contract security staff who seem less concerned with limits than the customs guys in the "declared" lane.
     
  9. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    Quarantine Xrays brought me down last year when I missed declaring one bottle and it got noticed by the customs officer. My travelling partner was also caught and tried the open bottle trick - it does not work.

    The new rules have just removed the old buffers that were in place, in a way they have made the line clearer as to what exactly is possible as far as duty free goes. Having said that I am still amazed that a $20-30 bottle of grog gets more attention than the $2000 notebook that you are carrying that maybe you did not leave the country with, the last 40 business trips I have done I have never been asked about my laptop in Australia.
     
  10. serfty

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    Don't forget that the changes also allow customs to get more $$$.

    For example, 1 person bringing back $1000 worth of unused duty free goods and nothing else used to be up for $60 in tax on return. They now will be up for $100.
     
  11. jlou

    jlou Junior Member

    May 30, 2004
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    My fiance and I just came back with 6 bottles of champagne between us and some leftover spirits which we had 'decanted' into empty water bottles (sooo classy but our luggage was pretty heavy by then....) We declared it all, told them about the leftovers and were horrified to discover we couldn't dump it as we were past the quarantine bins. The very nice man decided that my vodka looked like water, looked at us sternly and said "that's water, so you have just the 6 bottles, right??"

    As a lawyer, I just can't get away with not declaring things - even though the vodka in the water bottle would have passed scrutiny unless they opened it and sniffed it.

    If you are coming from the US, instead of bringing back more than your allowance, as for a glass of ice/buy a bottle of coke and mix your own while you are waiting in the Admirals Club (if there is one) :lol:

    As for goods, fiance very peeved that he couldn't get at least some of the GST back on the ring - new rules meant the whole amount would have been assessed :(
     
  12. Tankers

    Tankers Junior Member

    May 20, 2005
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    I have never had any problem with custom so far. Last year I wen to NZ and brought back 18 bottles of wines among 3 passangers. Yes 18 bottles in a luggage. I declare every bottle and went to the red gate. No problem a simple question and a wave good bye.

    5 months ago I was in France and brought back 6 bottles of wines on me. onece again declare every bottle and not even a question was asked. I was out of the terminal in 10 minutes from the time I got off the plane. all this is at the Sydney airport. I am not sure about others.

    I always declare all my goods at the immigration check point and once again at the quarantine check point.
     
  13. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
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    Both your trips were before the new limits. They were quite flexible then. There is now also a $250 on the spot fine they can impose for not declaring stuff, and they seem to use it a lot for foodtuffs more than booze. But I agree it is better to declare than get caught, especially when in and out 2-3 times a month!

    BTW - Quarantine is especially looking for bird products given the potential/perceived avian flu threat
     
  14. serfty

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    Tankers,

    Both cases you posted average six bottles per person. The duty on a litre of wine is less than $3. Say each bottle of wine cost $25, that's $33.33 per litre. So we have $3.33 GST on each litre. A total excise payable of less than $5.33 per litre of wine or under $4 per bottle.

    Each person had 4.5 litres, with the first 1.125 ml being duty free. So Excise would have been payable on 3.375 litres of wine, a total of under $18 per PAX.

    This is well within the old $50 minimum payable so there would have been absolutely no problems with bringing this wine in. Back then you could cart a case through as long as the wine was less then about $30 per bottle.

    These days, your situation of bringing in the six bottles would result in duty being payable on all wine; a total of about $24.
     
  15. KGB

    KGB Newbie

    May 27, 2005
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    A similar experience happened to me recently... But the amount of money involved was significantly less... It appears that any discretion Customs may previously have held no longer applies!

    I took back 6 half litre bottles of German beer, with a purchase value of approx 2 EUR... Customs then insisted that I pay $6 AUD in duty, with no right to leave the offending bottles behind...

    Fair enough - they're the new rules...

    But I am rather curious to know the basis of calculation for customs duties... These appear not to be displayed in an obvious way on their website...

    Is anyone aware of the calculation methodology? ie the percentage rate applied? And is it purely based on dollar value, or also on the volume? And what role (if any) does the alcohol content of the beverages have?
     
  16. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    Thats because they are acting as tax collectors, and the rate is listed here:

    http://www.ato.gov.au/businesses/content.asp?doc=/content/4085.htm

    Now if you can understand that you are doing well! I wonder why they cannot simply say $xxx per litre of alcohol regardless of the type of drink, seems a bit strange to me !
     
  17. KGB

    KGB Newbie

    May 27, 2005
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    Thanks Markis

    That's very useful information...

    I agree that it could be simpler, but at least it is not as complex as the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET):

    Wine tax for imported wine is calculated as:

    29% of the purchase price at inwards duty free; OR
    for other importations, 29% x (Customs value + Customs duty + international transport and insurance).

    I phoned up Customs 1300-363-263 in relation to this point... They were reluctant to give me precise details of how this is calculated, but they did suggest that as a matter of principle they apply 10% of the airfare as the implied international transport and insurance cost.... One wouldn't want to be flying First if that's the case!!! Could be rather expensive to import that cheap 3 EUR bottle of wine from France...

    And it is rather odd that Wine is assessed by value, but beer and spirits is assessed on the basis of alcohol volume!
     
  18. NM

    NM
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    Different industries to be protected, and hence different lobby groups driving the policy at different times.

    For me its just easier to keep myself under the limits and under the radar.
     
  19. raccoon111

    raccoon111 Junior Member

    Jul 30, 2005
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    I have a question, but i don't want to start a new thread just for it as it is rather trivial, so this is the most relevant thread I could find.

    I'll be travelling to MEL at the end of the month from SIN, via SYD.
    QF32 SIN-SYD, then QF188 SYD-MEL, with connection time of about 1 hr 40 mins.

    In SYD I want to make a quick dash out to land-side to purchase a few boxes of Krispy Kremes. So I'll need to clear customs then re-enter after making my purchase. Will I face any difficulties from the customs officers? Afterall I'll technically be "leaving" Australia after arriving for a mere few minutes.

    Similarly in MEL, after my connecting flight, where I'll be clearing customs proper, will I face any problems (since I've arrived and departed Australia only a couple hours beforehand)? I'm a holder of a Australian permanent resident visa.

    Most importantly, will I be able to convince the quarantine folks to allow my KKs through, since they were bought in Australia?

    Thanks all...
     
  20. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
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    Sydney
    I don't like your chances.

    I don't recall seeing a KK stand in the Int'l terminal, although they are at Dom and their store is near Dom. Havng said that I don't hang around the retail areas at all as I go through there a few times a month typically.

    I suspect if you are transiting in Sydney you are regarded as "quarantined" until MEL. That's not to say you couldn't exit at Sydney and reenter as a Domestic leg of the International flight. Times may be an issue depending on how crowded it is. I would think you'd also need 2 boarding passes, you may want to check this (and/or organise it) with QF beforehand.

    I don't think the quarantine would be an issue, but not declaring would be.
     
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