If you plan to drive the vehicle on Australia's roads it is essential that you contact the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch before importing the vehicle to ensure that the vehicle can meet the safety requirements and to obtain a permission to import the vehicle.
All privately imported vehicles are subject to the same rates of customs duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) and, where applicable, Luxury Car Tax (LCT) as commercially imported vehicles.
The customs duty is based on the customs value of the vehicle.
The customs value of new or second hand privately imported motor vehicles or motor cycles will ordinarily be calculated using the transaction value method. Customs value is based on the 'price actually paid or payable' for the vehicle or cycle in a bona fide sale where the price is not influenced by any other factor. This method will be used where the importer can show that the vehicle or cycle was purchased to be exported to Australia.
The transaction value method will not be used where there is insufficient or unreliable information regarding the purchase. In determining the customs value, certain adjustments may be made to the price paid by the importer to have the vehicle or cycle brought to Australia (eg. the deduction of overseas freight and insurance).
When the transaction value method cannot be used to determine customs value, the alternate methods of valuation, as set out in Section 159 of the Customs Act will be applied in sequential order. Where the fall-back alternate method is used, customs will usually accept as the basis for determining the customs value, the landed cost of the vehicle or cycle in Australia as assessed by a person qualified in valuing such vehicles and cycles.
The customs value of the vehicle is calculated in Australian dollars.
As a tourist or temporary resident, you may bring a motor vehicle or a motorcycle and attached trailer or a caravan to Australia for a period of up to 12 months (or longer under certain circumstances) without paying duty, provided they are subsequently exported from Australia.
For this concession to apply, you will need one of the following:
- A Carnet De Passages en Douanes issued by an overseas organisation which has a reciprocal arrangement with the RAC.
- A cash or bank security, equal to the amount of duty and GST and where applicable, LCT otherwise payable.
If your vehicle is stolen, damaged or destroyed while you are in Australia, you should notify customs as soon as possible at your original port of arrival.
All fittings and accessories imported with your motor vehicle, motorcycle, trailer or caravan must also be exported with that same vehicle.
To prevent the entry of diseases, noxious weeds and insect pests into Australia, quarantine authorities inspect all vehicles on arrival and may require them to be properly cleaned.
This is usually effected by steam cleaning.
You should remove all soil and any other matter from your vehicle (including the underside) prior to exportation to Australia. Australian Quarantine Inspection Service
You may import an Australian manufactured motor vehicle or a motorcycle without paying duty on it, providing you have owned and used the vehicle overseas and there are no outstanding Australian duties, taxes or charges owing on it.
You will be required to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) and, where applicable, Luxury Car Tax (LCT) on the vehicle if no GST or applicable LCT was paid when the vehicle was originally exported from Australia. Australian Customs Service
The Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, which is administered by the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch, came into effect on 1 August 1989.
Under this legislation it is an offence to import any new or secondhand vehicle unless:
- It meets the safety and emissions standards applying to vehicles to be used on Australian roads.
- Arrangements are in place to modify the vehicle to meet these requirements after its arrival in Australia.
Before importing any vehicle it is essential that you ensure it will be able to be delivered in Australia by contacting the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch - the only body who can issue permits to import motor vehicles from overseas. Department for Planning and Infrastructure