When importing road vehicles(including motorcycles and trailers) into Australia, Customs need to be able to determine the value of your road vehicle. There are two methods we can use to determine the Value for Customs. "Transaction value", or Alternate Method" are the two choices. Becasue each importation has different criteria, its a case by case assessment of which meathod is most suitable for you, and will give you the lowest amount of GST and Duty payable.

Transaction value method (Bill of Sale)

The first question to ask when importing a road vehicle is, can the “transaction value” be used. Transaction value method uses the price actually paid or payable for the road vehicle to determine the customs value. For transaction value method, customs value is calculated in the following manner:

  • First take your purchase price in the foreign currency.
  • Next, the purchase price is converted to Australian dollars using the official rate of exchange on the date of export of the vehicle from the place of export.
  • The figure that has been obtained is called the customs value.

When the transaction value method is not used

  • The importer cannot demonstrate that the purchase took place for the sole purpose of exporting the road vehicle to Australia. An example to illustrate this is when the exported road vehicle has been used overseas prior to making the decision to export to Australia.
  • The purchaser cannot present to Customs and Border Protection staff at the port of entry, satisfactory purchase documentation such as invoices, receipts, etc, which could verify the full purchase price of the road vehicle.
  • The road vehicle has been purchased overseas for only a token or nominal price.
  • Between the date of purchase of the road vehicle and its subsequent exportation to Australia, its value has altered due to the following occurring:
    • the addition of accessories, fittings or options, major restoration, modifications or any improvements to the road vehicle made after its purchase; or
    • the road vehicle has depreciated due to wear and tear caused by usage before exportation.
    • Sufficient and reliable information is not available to Customs and Border Protection.

Where any of the above situations have occurred, the transaction value method cannot be used and an alternate method of determining the customs value will be considered. Customs and Border Protection experience has shown that the majority of road vehicles imported cannot be valued using the transaction value method because they were not purchased solely for export to Australia, or the vehicle has depreciated since purchase due to use.

Alternate Methods of determining the customs value

Where the Transaction value method is not used, then the Customs Value will generally be assessed using the Fall Back Deductive method.

The Fall-Back Deductive method is the most appropriate method for establishing the customs value of imported road vehicles when it is unable to be determined using the previous methods. This method is based on the cost of the road vehicle at the Australian wharf (i.e. the “landed cost”). The value is established by referring to an ‘expert’ appraisal. We will appoint an approved ‘expert’ valuer at destination that will be able to give an indication of the landed cost to enable an estimate of taxes to be ascertained. Note : Cost of obtaining a valuation is the importers responsibility.

The landed cost does not include customs duty, GST, or Australian inland freight. Once all allowable deductions have been made to the appraised value, the resultant value will be used as the customs value for levying any customs duty and GST payable on the road vehicle.

If you are not sure what your car may be worth, or which method wodul be used, please call us and we can help.

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