How to import

Declarations for imported goods

Declarations are used by importers, or licensed customs brokers acting on their behalf, to clear imported goods from customs control into the commerce of Australia (home consumption) or into a licensed warehouse.

Generally, all goods imported into Australia are liable for duties and taxes unless an exemption or concession applies. There are exclusions and restrictions to the use of the concessions. More information can be found in  Schedule 4 of the Customs Tariff Act 1995.

For goods with a value equal to or less than AUD1,000 there are generally no duties, taxes or charges to pay. You will need to pay duties and taxes on some goods (like tobacco, tobacco products or alcoholic beverages) regardless of their value.

For goods with a value over AUD1,000 you will be required to pay all relevant duties, taxes and other charges, including an import processing charge.

We strongly encourage first-time or infrequent importers to use the services of a licensed customs broker to clear their goods.

There are three declaration types for imported goods. Which one you will need to use will depend on the value of your goods and whether or not you intend to warehouse the goods before clearing them from customs control.

Import Declaration (N10)

If you are clearing your goods directly into home consumption and the goods have a value of more than AUD1,000 you will need to make an Import Declaration (N10 Form), and pay the duties, taxes and charges that apply.

An Import Declaration is a statement made by the importer (owner of the goods), or their agent (licensed customs broker), to us providing information about the goods being imported. The Import Declaration collects details on the importer, how the goods are being transported, the tariff classification and customs value.

Most Import Declarations are lodged with us electronically via the Integrated Cargo System (ICS). An alternative option for lodging Import Declarations is in documentary (paper) form. Use:

The importer is responsible for accurately completing all mandatory fields on the Import Declaration. Our role in assisting the importer is limited to providing general advice on completing the form.

Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) declaration

If your imported goods arrive by air or sea cargo and have a value equal to or less than AUD1000 you will need to use a SAC declaration. Goods with a value of more than AUD 1000 must be declared on a full Import Declaration (N10).

You cannot use a SAC declaration if your goods arrive:

  • through international mail
  • as unaccompanied personal effects
  • under a carnet

There are three types of SAC declarations:

  • cargo report SAC declaration
  • short format SAC declaration
  • long format SAC declaration

If your goods require a permit for import, you must use either a full import declaration or a long format SAC declaration.

SAC declarations can only be lodged electronically via the Integrated Cargo System.

For more information on SAC declaration types, see the Self-Assessed Clearance declaration fact sheet.

Incorrectly using SAC declarations can result in not paying duties, taxes and charges and not meeting other import requirements (for example, permits for restricted goods and biosecurity requirements). Not paying the correct duties and taxes is an offence and can result in financial penalties or legal action.

Warehouse Declaration (N20)

If you intend to warehouse your imported goods in a customs licensed warehouse before clearing them from customs control and they have a value of more than AUD1000 then you will need to use a Warehouse Declaration (N20).

Goods entered on a Warehouse Declaration may be held indefinitely at a warehouse without payment of any duties and taxes, until either:

Warehouse Declarations (Form B368) can be lodged in person or via the ICS.

Lodging an Import Declaration or a Warehouse Declaration in person

If you choose to lodge an Import Declaration or a Warehouse Declaration at one of our counters you will need to bring the following documents:

  • bill of lading/air waybill
  • commercial documents (invoices)
  • evidence of your identity
  • permits or approvals for the goods and
  • any other relevant documents.

More information on evidence of identity requirements to lodge an Import Declaration and use of couriers can be found on the evidence of identity for documentary (paper) transactions fact sheet.

Amendments or withdrawals to a lodged Import Declaration can be faxed or mailed to one of our offices in your State/Territory. Amendments or withdrawals are also accepted at our counters.

When you lodge an Import Declaration with us, either electronically or in person, you may be asked lodgement questions. These questions seek additional responses from you or your licensed customs broker regarding community protection concerns, restrictions and permits, or other information. If you lodged the declaration in person you must answer these questions in writing and submit your answers to our counter.

After you make an Import Declaration you must keep all relevant documentation for five years.