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Duty Drawbacks

The Australian Border Force (ABF) administers duty drawbacks, which allows exporters to claim a refund of customs duty paid on imported goods that are exported from Australia and are:

  • unused since importation, or
  • treated, processed, or incorporated into other goods for export.

Eligibility

You may be eligible to lodge a duty drawback claim if you are the legal owner of the goods at the time they were exported from Australia, or it can be shown that the legal owner has assigned this right to you.

You must lodge a duty drawback claim within:

  • 12 months from the date of export for tobacco or tobacco products, or
  • 4 years from the date of export for all other goods.

The minimum amount per claim is AUD100. Multiple claims of less than AUD100 may be combined into a single claim of at least AUD100.

Lodging a Duty Drawback Claim

If you are lodging a duty drawback claim you must have evidence that the goods:

  • had duty paid on importation into Australia,
  • were not used in Australia, and
  • were exported.

You must have evidence to support your duty drawback claim and you must provide that evidence if requested. You are not required to submit any specific documents with your claim unless requested.

You must also ensure that the amount claimed does not exceed the amount of import duty paid on the relevant imported goods.

You can’t claim a refund of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in a duty drawback claim. Importers registered by the Australian Taxation Office for GST purposes may be entitled to an input tax credit on creditable importations. The input tax credit is claimed via the Business Activity Statement. The ATO provides for a drawback of excise duty that has been paid (either directly or in the purchase price) on goods that have been subsequently exported. For further information on GST or for enquiries regarding drawback of excise duty, see the Australian Taxation Office website.

Preparing a Duty Drawback Claim

To lodge a duty drawback claim you will need access to the Import Declaration used to enter the goods into Australia, or the information contained in the Import Declaration.

More information about evidentiary requirements for all duty drawback claims is available in Australian Customs Notice No.2019/41.

You are required to keep all documentation for a minimum of 5 years from the date the goods are exported.

A duty drawback claim can only be made where the imported goods have been used in Australia:

  • for the purposes of inspection or exhibition, or
  • as materials in the manufacture of other goods for export, or
  • and were subject to a process or treatment, and the processed or treated goods are exported.

Imported goods used in manufacturing goods for export, such as manufacturing machinery or filtration material, are not eligible for duty drawback. 

A duty drawback claim is also not payable if:

  • goods are valued at less than 25 per cent of their imported customs value at time of exportation, or
  • the import duty paid on the goods has been refunded, or
  • records are not available for examination by an officer that show that import duty was paid on the goods and details of the receipt and disposal of the goods.

The ABF will not approve duty drawback claims where the claimant has insufficient evidence to substantiate that the goods were imported and import duty was paid.

Where imported goods have been sold in Australia since importation, the duty drawback claimant is responsible for maintaining records. You must provide evidence to show each sale of goods since importation into Australia so that the goods being exported can be traced back to an import entry in which duty was paid. 

Tobacco and Tobacco Products

When lodging a duty drawback claim for tobacco or tobacco products, there are additional requirements that need to be met, including:  

  • providing the ABF with a written notice of intention to lodge a duty drawback claim on the export of the goods and in reasonable time before the goods are exported,
  • ensuring the goods can be produced for examination by an officer if required,
  • lodging a duty drawback claim within 12 months after the day on which the goods were exported, and
  • ensuring that the amount claimed does not exceed the amount of import duty paid on the relevant imported goods. Also, the duty rates for tobacco are subject to periodic increases, so the current duty rates will often not be rates used when the tobacco was imported.

Pre-Export Notification

If you intend to lodge a duty drawback claim on tobacco or tobacco products, you must provide pre-export notice to the ABF at least 5 business days before exporting the goods to allow time for an examination of the goods.

The pre-export notification must include the following details:

  • owner’s name and Australian Business Number (ABN) or Customs Client Identifier (CCID),
  • product type,
  • quantities,
  • expected date of export,
  • expected place of export (such as a depot and its location), and
  • expected air freight or sea freight carrier (such as express courier or international forwarder).

The pre-export notification must be sent to the ABF at tobaccodrawbacks@abf.gov.au.

Lodging your Duty Drawback Claim

You can lodge a duty drawback claim by:

Completed ‘Claim for Drawback’ forms can be emailed to drawbacks@abf.gov.au.

An ABN or CCID is used to identify duty drawback claimants.  If you are the importer of the goods, refer to the Import Declaration.  This will quote the ABN you supplied or the CCID created on your behalf. If you are not the importer of the goods and do not have an ABN, you must complete the ‘Registering as a client in the ICS’ Form (B319) and provide sufficient documentation that confirms your identity, to enable the ABF to issue you with a CCID.

As evidence of export, you will need a valid export declaration for each line when making a claim for duty drawback.

Calculating the Duty Drawback Claim Amount

Duty drawback claims are based on self-assessment.  You are responsible for self-assessing the amount of duty drawback to be claimed using one of 3 calculation methods. 

The calculation methods are:

  1. Shipment by shipment basis – for use where imports directly relate to exports.
  2. Representative or Averaging shipment basis – generally used for high volume low value goods. A representative shipment for a period is selected as a typically representative sample of the values of identical items. The averaging of shipments is costed over time and must not result in an over-claim.
  3. Imputation method – for use where the exporter was not the importer of the relevant goods and as a result does not know the precise amount of import duty paid. Using this method, the import value for the purposes of calculating duty drawback is imputed to be 30 per cent of the purchase price of the goods. This option can only be used where goods are fully imported and have been purchased in Australia by the exporter.

It is important to note that regardless of the method used, the amount of a duty drawback claim must not exceed the amount of duty paid when the goods were imported.

Processing and Paying Claim

The ABF will pay the duty drawback claim amount by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).  You must provide your banking details when completing your claim or lodging your claim in ICS.

Further Information

For further information on duty drawbacks, email drawbacks@abf.gov.au.

 

This information is intended as a guide only and does not constitute legal advice. The legal requirements of Duty Drawbacks are contained in section 168 of the Customs Act 1901 and Part 7 of the Customs (International Obligations) Regulation 2015.

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