If you send a package overseas, or receive one from overseas, it will have to pass through Australian customs which will assess the package and impose any applicable duty and tax.

Let’s take a look at some of the rules and regulations that apply to both sending and receiving goods internationally.

Receiving goods from abroad

When you receive goods from abroad, you are technically importing them. This is true whether you solicited the goods or not. When the goods arrive at the border, customs will examine them. If it is assessed that the goods are prohibited under Commonwealth law, they will not be released unless you can show a permit.

If the goods you are receiving have a value of less than $1000, they will not be subject to any duty or tax. The exception to this rule is alcoholic beverages. Oftentimes customs will ask for evidence that the goods are in fact valued at less than $1000.

In order to receive goods with a value of more than $1000, you have to file an Import Declaration with customs. You will then receive an invoice detailing the duty, tax and additional charges that are owed. Once you pay the invoice your package will be delivered.

Sending goods overseas

If you are sending a package to another country, you must fill out and submit a detailed customs declaration form. This generally does not apply to letters and documents, but there are exceptions (e.g. non-printed and high-value material).

The following criteria has to be met for an item to qualify as a letter or document:

  • less than 500g in weight
  • no larger than a B4 envelope
  • no thicker than 20mm
  • rectangular in shape

For goods valued at $2,000 or more, you’re obliged to fill out an export declaration which will be assessed by customs.

Remember that each country has its own set of rules and regulations with regard to international shipments. It is your responsibility to learn what these are before you send your package.

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