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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. Refer to the Current tariff classification.

For most goods with a value equal to or less than AUD1,000 there are generally no duties, taxes or charges to pay. You must 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 must pay all relevant duties, taxes and other charges, including an import processing charge.

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

The declaration types for imported goods are:

  • Import declaration (N10)
  • Self-assessed clearance (SAC) declaration
  • Warehouse declarations (N20)

Import declaration (N10)

An import declaration is required when a consignment of imported goods has a combined value of over AUD1,000 and is being cleared into home consumption.

All applicable duties, taxes and charges must be paid before the goods can be released.

An Import declaration is a statement made by the importer (owner of the goods), or their agent (licensed customs broker):

  • about the goods being imported
  • details on the importer
  • how the goods are being transported
  • the tariff classification and customs value.

Import declarations may be:

If your goods are arriving by air or sea cargo, and you are lodging an Import declaration document at an ABF counter you will need to complete a B650

If your goods are arriving by international mail you will need to complete a B374.

The importer is responsible for completing the Import Declaration.

We can only give general advice on how to complete 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 AUD1,000 you must lodge a SAC declaration.

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 an Import declaration (N10) or a long format SAC declaration.

SAC declarations can only be submitted in the Integrated Cargo System.

Incorrect use of SAC declarations can result in not meeting import requirements such as:

  • paying duties, taxes and charges
  • permits for restricted goods
  • biosecurity.

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 AUD1,000 you will need to use a Warehouse declaration (N20) Tobacco can not be entered into a warehouse.

You can lodge this in person or submit it in the ICS.

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

Lodge an Import declaration or a Warehouse declaration in person

To lodge an Import declaration or a Warehouse declaration at one of our counters you will need to bring:

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

Information on evidence of identity requirements to lodge an Import declaration and use of couriers are in Evidence of identity for documentary (paper) transactions

Amendments or withdrawals to an Import declaration can be sent to the office where the Import declaration was originally lodged, or email to postimportsnsw@abf.gov.au

Amendments or withdrawals are also accepted at ABF counters.

We may ask you questions about community protection concerns, restrictions and permits, or for more information about your declaration.

You must provide your answer to us in writing, in the ICS, or at an ABF counter.

After you make an Import declaration, or a customs broker makes one for you, you must keep all relevant documents for five years.