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Thread: Importation Costs

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    Importation Costs

    Hi all,

    I know this has been talked about a lot but i am chasing some experience information in the realm of grey imports >$1k.

    I understand there is a risk for customs to pick up on it and ask for the GST, but my queries are:
    * What is the probability of this happening?
    * What is the actual cost when it does get picked up?

    Basically I am looking at buying in a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens from HK.

    I have budgeted to include the GST, but I have read that you may also get charged importation tariff's and 'inconvenience' fees by the courier. Has anyone got any experience which how the process actually works.

    At the moment I am considering going with DRev (site sponsor) as they include the GST when you buy it and seem to take care of the customs hassle on your behalf.

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    Member Watchamacallit's Avatar
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    All depends on how the company you purchase from handles it. In general all imports are screened by customs, just certain companies have been known to undervalue items on the declaration (basically illegal) to pass through customs on the $1000 grace. What you can expect to pay on an photography equipment (most, not all) is close to 10% for GST and $52.50 customs clearance fee. This can be higher/lower depending once again on the company, the courier company or whether you'll be paying this yourself.

    Most companies would collect the GST and fees at the time of purchase (which is passed onto the courier) to speed up the process, so you as a consumer never see any involvement. If the company does not collect this, it may fall on either the courier company or yourself. If yourself, customs will send notifications for expected payments and so forth before being cleared and let through (can be a delay). If through some transport companies they may pay all the necessary fees and then notify yourself of the additional payments before delivery, so it minimises the delay on the customs side and only delays the delivery due to the payment.
    Adam

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    as well as the 10% gst and customs fee, there is also a 5% duty which people always seem to forget about (only time it doesn't apply is if we have a free trade agreement with the country you are buying it from, and only if it was made there)

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    Worth noting that customs ain't stupid and will evaluate values of goods regardless of the declared value.
    Darren
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    Thanks for the info all. Might have to mull it over for a bit still.

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    I thought there was NO 5% on photographic equipment. In fact I am 99% sure there isn't....

    I would suggest always take it into account when making a purchase and compairing, then you are prepared.

    Roo
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmack View Post
    as well as the 10% gst and customs fee, there is also a 5% duty which people always seem to forget about (only time it doesn't apply is if we have a free trade agreement with the country you are buying it from, and only if it was made there)
    I don't think that applies to photographic equipment..

    edit: http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/re...r90goods_a.pdf << top of page 2.
    That said, the 10% GST & customs clearance fee would still apply.
    Last edited by infl3xion; 18-11-2010 at 8:02am.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    As a somewhat experienced importer of camera gear to Australia from a number of overseas ports, I will share what I know. This is based on the purchase and import of almost $30K in gear over the last 12 months.

    No Duty applies to most camera gear, pretty much 35mm stuff is duty free, however for any consignment where the total combined value (Customs Value) including shipping exceeds AUD$1000 (exchange rate on day of purchase used - daily rates on Customs site) then 10% GST on the Customs value is payable, however there are a number of exceptions, one of which is my favourite, and that is a warranty return, meaning you sent it out of Aus to have warranty work or replacement carried out and now item is being re-imported, and on that basis, it is entitled to pass free of any duty or tax, however be aware that a declaration must still be lodged if it's Customs value is >AUD$1000 and freight companies like Fedex, DHL, UPS etc will charge brokerage and that varies wildly.

    When using couriers, they are approved to clear electronically and in house, so for items where smaller amounts of tax/GST are payable, the courier just credits Customs automatically when it gets to Australia, and then they ask you to pay along with their sometimes extortionate broker fee.

    Again if using couriers, when lodging any item where the sender has declared a value that exceeds $AUD1K when freight cost is added, the couriers flag that item as having at least GST and possibly duty payable and it would be quite rare for the item to slip through, these couriers like their extra brokerage fee revenue so they don't miss much. Items coming via post are hit and miss, but generally any item that is way over the threshold is very likely to get picked up and some just over slip through.

    I manage to get most items in without paying anything, however it is usually when a seller declares items with a value >AUD$1K to couriers that you get stung. If you are buying from HK, I have not come across a seller who wasn't helpful when making Customs declarations. You just need to decide if you qualify under the various avenues for free passage and decide what values to declare when shipping. You must however be aware that knowingly making false, misleading, fabricated or otherwise untrue declarations is a federal offence, and you may be liable to prosecution.

    Hope that helps

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    Member Watchamacallit's Avatar
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    I think Wayne sums it up quite nicely (definitely more detailed and thought out than mine :P) and must say, I wasn't aware of the warranty aspect of GST exemption so you learn something new everyday.

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    Ausphotography Regular Bercy's Avatar
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    I bought about $3,000 worth of gear from Adorama and had to pay 10% as noted, and then shipping and insurance. The gear was released when I payed the GST; I can't remember who I paid it to, but I remember it was all pretty efficient. I think it was the transport company. The message is to make sure you calculate all the costs and then compare it to the local retail outlet, and also consider that with the price difference you are buying a risk - that is if you have to send it back you have probably forfeited any putated advantage. I have bought a lens from Japan, with a $500 saving. The real reason I got it from Japan was because I couldn't effectively secure it in Australia - it would have been "back ordered", so I took the punt and I have been very impressed with the lens, service form the seller, and the condition on arrival. But it could have also arrived in pieces. That's the risk your taking.
    Berni

    ""The most important piece of camera equipment you will ever own sits between your ears...."

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    The way Wayne explained it is pretty much how I understood it. I think DRev might be a good choice as they take care of the importation for you. Or if the Aus dollar stays high my brother in law is going to NYork at Christmas so maybe I just get him to buy me one from B&H and post it back as a gift?!!

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