Before importing a road vehicle, consider the costs of importation such as:
- Freight and insurance (for the transport of the goods to Australia)
- Customs duties, GST and LCT
- Storage and delivery charges
- logistics service provider charges
- Customs brokers' charges
- Import processing charges
- Steam cleaning for biosecurity
- Wharf and transport charges
- Costs to have your vehicle meet State or Territory registration and insurance requirements.
Import Approval Permits
Both the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation and the Australian Customs Border Protection Service state categorically, "Do not import a vehicle into Australia before obtaining a vehicle import approval."
If the car or any other vehicle meets certain criteria, this permit is available from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
The Department of Customs then imposes a levy on the car. This has two components - Duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST). These are the figures:
Luxury Car Tax
If the car you want to import has a GST inclusive value of $57,466 or more (as of 2011), it will be subject to Luxury Car Tax (LCT). This tax is in addition to the other charges listed above and is levied at 33% of the value above the $57,466 threshold.
How to Calculate the Cost of Duty and GST
The way to calculate duty and GST is dependent on the specific car and can be quite complex. Let's examine several different scenarios.
Classic Car: You have a vintage MG built in 1960 purchased in the UK. You originally paid the equivalent of $20,000 for the car. Since it is a classic car, it has not devalued. Customs value the car at the original price. Because the car is more than 30 years old, there is no duty to pay on it. However, there will be GST to pay. This will be 10% of the value of the car, or $2,000 in GST.
How to Get a Permit
To obtain clearance to bring your car to Australia - an Import Approval Permit - you will need to supply to the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation a collection of documents. These include:
- Weighbridge Certificate
- Engineer Certificate (for some vehicles)
- Imported Blue Slip ensuring the Road Transport Authority (RTA) that the vehicle is roadworthy
- RTA Visual Identification Unit inspection (for some vehicles)