Duty Free "Changes"

Old Dec 20, 04, 9:19 pm
  #1  
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Thumbs down Duty Free "Changes"

"Duty Free Bonanza at Last" - From Today's Melbourne Herald-Sun

There is really very little change here except for what is effectively an additional restriction of the tobacco product allowance along with a grab for more money should the traveller exceed an allowance.

From 1st February the main "Changes" are:
  • AU$400 duty free limit raised to AU$900.
  • alcohol allowance will double from 1.125 litres to 2.25 litres
  • allowance on tobacco products will remain at 250 cigarettes, or 250g of cigars
  • abolition of a $50 waiver on goods declared in excess of duty-free limits
  • If an allowance is exceeded, duty will have to be paid on all components of that allowance (not sure if this is for all goods or just alcohol or alcohol and tobacco).
Here is the grab for more money:
Originally Posted by Article
Unsuspecting travellers could still be hit with costly duty bills, with the abolition of a $50 waiver on goods declared in excess of duty-free limits.

Travellers who exceed the alcohol allowance, for example, currently only pay duty on the bottle which tips the limit.

Under the new system, they will have to pay duty on all the bottles.
It was the $50 waiver on goods that previously enabled international travellers to bring back either:
  1. One or Two extra bottle of alcoholic beverages,
  2. up to an additional AU$500 of dutyable goods or
  3. up to an extra 175 cigarettes/cigars.
The Alcohol option had been widely advertised in duty free stores, the others, especially tobacco was not.

How the waiver worked was that if any additional duty and tax payable totalled less than $50, nothing would be charged. If it totalled $50 or more, the whole amount became payable. i.e.
  1. This gave up to an extra $500 on top of the $400 allowance at 10% GST to giving an effecive $900 allowance or
  2. an extra 175 cigarettes at approx 26 excise plus 1.5 GST per stick or
  3. extra quantities of alcohol where the total excise/GST did not reach $50.
(These could be mixed, but let's not complicate things.)

What these changes really mean for cigarettes is that you can bring up to 250 back and pay nothing. If you bring 251, you may have to pay almost $70 more. Today you could bring back up to 425 and generally pay nothing extra.

By extending the duty free allowance to $900, they are merely giving back the $50 GST that generally would have been waived anyway.

This doubling of the alcohol allowance is really the only gain, and only if you bring back up to $900 worth of duty free items as well.

The article does not indicate what is to happen if you bring back $950 worth of duty free goods. Do you pay GST on the $50 excess or on the whole $950?
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Old Dec 20, 04, 9:24 pm
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Nice to see Australia is slowly working up to NZ's generous duty free alcohol allowance.
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Old Dec 20, 04, 9:37 pm
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Originally Posted by serfty
doubling of the alcohol allowance is really the only gain, and only if you bring back up to $900 worth of duty free items as well.

The article does not indicate what is to happen if you bring back $950 worth of duty free goods. Do you pay GST on the $50 excess or on the whole $950?
So for 2 travellers, $1800 plus 4.5L of alcohol.
No problems now about getting the Digi Cam + Ipod (or equiv) + a few GB of SD cards tax free.
I was never sure if the $50 allowance was per person, or per "pooled family group" (ie $400+400+500=$1300), so never really pushed the limit.
The story said that it had not been increased since 1987! About time!
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Old Dec 20, 04, 9:45 pm
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The duty free concessions of family members can be pooled
That's something we dont have in NZ. Allowance is strictly personal. Of course for stuff easily separated (like booze) nothing stopping sharing the load around friends and family with you to minimise duty.
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Old Dec 20, 04, 9:58 pm
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I'm sure this is just a way to speed up the lines of people and get more to go through the Green Channel. Now, the X Ray machines will still be the hold up there, but it should allow the Customs Officers to concentrate on the "real" prizes rather than the odd BOP (Bottle of Piss).
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Old Dec 20, 04, 9:59 pm
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The $900 is good news. ^

In practive an invoice for $A950 they'll let slide IMHO. Too much hassle to collect about $10 duty/GST.
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Old Dec 20, 04, 10:52 pm
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In 1998 was able to combine the $400 DF allowance and the $50. Mrs serfty brought half of europe back with us, and the extra $100 grace saved us (no GST of course, 22%, 30% wholesale taxes etc).

My main gripe is with the tobacco products. I will no longer be albe to get two 200 cartons. These are the most cost effective D/F items. e.g. I can get a a 200 stick carton for NZ$33. This same carton retails in OZ for about AU$70.
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Old Dec 20, 04, 11:21 pm
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This was announced back at budget time. There really is not much diff except as mentioned around cigs. It is just formalising the previously unofficial extended limits that were available due to the cost of processing duty collection for small amounts.

We have been able to bring in 2.25l of alcohol for quite some time - just needed to declare anything over 1.125l and they waived the duty up to 2.25l. Now they will change the customs form to read "Do you have more than 2.25l of alcohol", and anything over that amount will be dutied.

Now if they freally were doubling the DF amount, I would bring in 6 x 750ml bottles of scotch! I am kind of surprised they keep measuring the alcohol by volume and not A$ value, say permitting A$150 worth of alcohol within the $900 total DF limit. That would make more sense to me since the duty is calculated on value and not volume.
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Old Dec 21, 04, 12:30 am
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My hunch is that 400 cigs will also be fine in future.

1. No-one overseas makes packs of 250

2. "Gee last time I came through the man said 400 was fine - when did this change?"

3. The duty collected on 150 cigs would be not worth the paperwork.

4. MOST IMPORTANT - any seized cigs CANNOT be sold at customs auctions as the specific oz health warnings are not on them, and even Govt needs to abide by those rules. The EXACT wording and size must be used or they cannot be sold.
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Old Dec 21, 04, 12:48 am
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Can't see what the fuss is all about with the packs of cancer enhancers (says he reaching into the fridge for a beer that does absolutely no harm to the health what so ever).
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Old Dec 21, 04, 12:59 am
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Originally Posted by NM

I am kind of surprised they keep measuring the alcohol by volume and not A$ value, say permitting A$150 worth of alcohol within the $900 total DF limit. That would make more sense to me since the duty is calculated on value and not volume.
Agree. Odd it is not capped.

The way it works now I imagine you can bring in 3 x 750mm bottles of Johnny Walker Blue label - which is worth $150-200 a bottle more here than overseas. (And costs 10 times more a bottle than JW Red) So you save say $500 on those, and most of the plonkers working at customs wouldn't have clue it was worth so much, so your $900 limit would be pretty much freed up.
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Old Dec 21, 04, 5:09 am
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Originally Posted by og
Can't see what the fuss is all about with the packs of cancer enhancers (says he reaching into the fridge for a beer that does absolutely no harm to the health what so ever).
Any duty free allocation is "for personal use". I did not say I smoke the cigs, in fact I don't. I have far better uses for them .
Originally Posted by ozstamps
The way it works now I imagine you can bring in 3 x 750mm bottles of Johnny Walker Blue label - which is worth $150-200 a bottle more here than overseas. (And costs 10 times more a bottle than JW Red) So you save say $500 on those, and most of the plonkers working at customs wouldn't have clue it was worth so much, so your $900 limit would be pretty much freed up.
What really is supposed to happen (with the current $50 waiver) is that excise is calculated then GST added. Excise depends upon the alcohol content and I believe is about $15-$20 per litre for most spirits. GST is simply 10% of what you paid for it.

For example if you had an additional 1.25 litre bottle of JW Red that cost $30 D/F, it could have an excise of $25 (@$20 per litre). The total 'duty' payable on this would be $28 ($25+$3). The same size bottle of JW Blue that cost $150 D/F that had a similar alcohol content would have a total duty of $40 ($25+$15).

WHile thay might have a clue, it's probably too hard for customs people to do this type of calculation for the thousands that land in OZ every day.
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Old Dec 21, 04, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by ozstamps
In practive an invoice for $A950 they'll let slide IMHO. Too much hassle to collect about $10 duty/GST.
I'd be very surprised if they don't. I went through last week with an invoice for $A1350 and they just waved me past. The paperwork they have to do isn't worth the effort for them.
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Old Dec 21, 04, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by JeremyX
I'd be very surprised if they don't. I went through last week with an invoice for $A1350 and they just waved me past. The paperwork they have to do isn't worth the effort for them.
And just see how their attitude changes if you don't declare it and get caught. All of a sudden its not too much effort to do the paperwork .
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Old Dec 21, 04, 5:10 pm
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Still no mention of being allowed in with a new 6.8mm M4 from Barrett.....

*******s.


Re: Digicams, I make this post more out of charitable spirit for fellow F-talkers than commercial interest (because the impact to me is negligible), but if you are in need of a camera.....well, you know how to contact me.
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