AUS Department of Home Affairs: $5 Fee for International Parcels under $1000

Hot off the press:

From the article:

'Australian shoppers would have to pay a $5 tax on every parcel posted from overseas under a federal government plan to cover skyrocketing security screening costs.
Parcels containing purchases like clothing, makeup and books worth less than $1000 - which now represent 90 per cent of deliveries entering Australia - would attract the new tax.
The Department of Home Affairs proposal will provoke opposition from online retailers like eBay and Amazon…'

If this get's through, what are the implications for us?

Cast your vote and comment below.

Poll Options expired

  • 14
    $5 unworkable, but a fee will happen
  • 20
    Big change, the Liberals will do this
  • 168
    No change, just empty talk


  • +19 votes

    "If this get's through, what are the implications for us?"

    we'll be paying more…..


  • +5 votes

    I know someone who works for customs and even he was lamenting how the government makes up any excuse they can to find and implement new bs 'charges' (tax). So while this charge would be out and out unconscionable theft if it did come wouldn't surprise one bit if the kakistocracy did implement it.

    • +18 votes

      I spent a decade working for Customs, a few years early on in an airport and in post. I was always happy to collect money on ciggies because they're gross, but never once collected money on goods over $900/ $1000 or alcohol. Pity Im still not there, I'd let everything through in the ozbargain spirit!

  • +14 votes

    retailers have friends in high places

  • +21 votes

    That’ll be a $0.01 deal (shipped) for you, plus $5 tax thanks!

    • +36 votes

      Easy, buy all these 1c items, have it shipped to a fake address (or your own, but refuse to accept it, declaring its not yours) and have the Dept of Home Affairs spend money trying to chase the $5 fee up.

      Political action by the masses

      A (oz) Bargain way to protest

      • +3 votes

        just an FYI for everyone

        appparently 40 mil parcels came in last year

        say $5 per that means $200mil for customs but how much will it cost to administer and collect

        • +2 votes

          The cheapest way, would see it added on to the 'postage' interchange charges that aus charges intl postage companies when receiving their freight, so that means postage to aust will rise $5 everywhere, so the senders will pay for it, and pass it on to us.

        • +11 votes

          Knowing how our government works it probably costs more than $5 to administer and collect the fee.

          Once a fee like this gets in they will increase it each year to cover increasing yearly costs.

          BTW Just saw this on ABC news and they are saying up to $7.

        • +1 vote

          @Stphen: they'll have to pay a consultant $42,000,000 to do a study.

          then they have to employ someone to run the program, but they will resign after 6 months and receive a $89,000,000 golden hand shake.

      • +1 vote

        Better yet, have all these items sent to the politicians' address. They create the law, they pay the fees.

  • +15 votes

    Gerry Harvey is back on his hobby-horse, but this time he's only riding it in the back offices of the Liberal Party instead of on the front page of the newspaper.

  • +8 votes

    So another new tax from the liberal party who's website says:

    We Believe:

    In the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative …….

    That, wherever possible, government should not compete with an efficient private sector; and that businesses and individuals - not government - are the true creators of wealth and employment.

    • +2 votes


      Politicians lie?

      Well spotted though, I hope someone uses those references to a wider audience. Not that labour are any better mind you but it helps to point out the BS from whoever is propagating it at the time.

      • +4 votes


        my team would never lie,

        its the other team…. 😀

        Then I grew up…..

        • +2 votes

          Well done, most people still buy into the whole left/right, them/us false paradigm…it gives them the illusion of having a choice I guess.

        • -2 votes

          @EightImmortals: Of course,

          I could have also added

          Its a Government Dep't proposal, the public servants, who we KNOW are totally concerned about

          The economy or
          Their salaries

          Tick the real reason…

        • +3 votes

          We may not have a choice on every matter but we have a choice on how we perceive government and how we behave towards them.

          One of the many things people can do is not to be a blind loyalist to any party. Vote labour, vote liberal, that's your choice but we don't have to echo their stupid policies or incredible promises on social media.

          Let the politicians face harsh critics rather than arriving at their safe space and receive automatic standing, often before they've even started speaking.

          If there's no incentive for a politician to shoot straight, it doesn't matter their party, their policies and their promises.

        • +3 votes

          I don't think we should be giving politicians anything to shoot with on recent form…


      There was a time when the Liberal Party followed these principles, but not any more. If you want to see these sorts of principles in your parliamentarians, you'll need to look for a better way.

  • +8 votes

    $5 tax on $900 item, who cares, I’m still going to buy overseas, Mr Harvey. But apply that same $5 tax to a $2 item and it’s outrageous.

    This is just bleeding Australian retail lobby groups latest attempt at getting a tax implemented in some form to try and deter us from spending our money wherever the best deal is. It’s just a sales tarif dresssed up as a cost covering tax.

    • +6 votes

      yeah the basically kills the mindless sub $20 purchases off GB etc.

      however i think this is bluster, remember the GST cutoff in july last year

      as if a company like Gearbest is going to collect on behalf of the ATO

    • +3 votes

      This is exactly what it is … an old school protectionist policy wrapped in the veil of funding for biosecurity.


      The irony is this is just another tax grab that will do nothing to save the retail industry. The only people that can possibly benefit from this are guys out in the suburbs buying $1 items in bulk from China, looking to turn them around for $5 - $10 here via eBay.

      Meanwhile, the government will just sit back and collect its $5 on the increasing volume of purchases coming in from overseas online shopping.

      • +5 votes

        This man has it.

        I dont doubt that some personal parcels have contraband but the amount of shipping containers coming in uninspected is where the real trangressions are.

        Its been said that only 4% of containers get inspected. Where do you think the drugs and guns come from? Your order of a Mi Band 2?

        Attack the shipping containers instead but hey, we know the true criminal is the person on ozbargain getting $20 nicknacks sent in from Hong Kong and southern china!


    How will they charge shoppers?

    • +2 votes

      Probably by enforcing the charge onto websites and collecting it from them. I noticed an extra charge last year on some websites for music I wanted to purchase (but didn't because of the extra tax). Not sure how will go trying to push their weight around with China though? They might try to scam us through Aust post, like (illegally) holding our parcels until we we pay up, I think the proper term is 'extortion racket'?


    So how does one vote with the options above. Its rather one-sided political.

    The Libs may want to introduce, but its 12 months to an election and they are already on the nose. Also given our Free Trade push, this can be seen as a backdoor tariff.

    Lab may not oppose or make political capital out of it (tacit agreement) as they see it as another revenue opportunity, plus it can be seen as looking after local workers.

    The Greens must support it, as its very pro environment. The fuel used to ship many of these landfill items (plus packaging which China now refuse to accept back).

    This will probably play more into Amazons hands as they can bulk ship and distribute cheaper here than other local players.

    • +2 votes

      Just vote for someone/anyone else, the country will not collapse if the Happy Hookers Cannabis fishing party gets a few seats but it would break the balance of power and that would be a GOOD thing.

      Srsly though, I was perusing the Aussie conservatives policies the other day and damned if they didn't make a ton of sense. of course getting the average punter to look past the media bs and check things out for themselves is almost impossible these days.


        Of course, but the problem still doesnt go away, the "independents" also dont play by their own policies. They get caught up in the power games when they hold it.

        Welcome to the real world just like here at Ozbargain, someone else gets the deal before we press the enter key.


          Yeah I'm well aware. :(
          The thing is though that if we keep doing/voting the same way we always have then we KNOW exactly what we are going to get. If we put some new people into parliament they might be good or the might be bad and we assess them by their policies at first and give them a chance to prove themselves then we might be all the better off for it. I know that the crooks all seem to hold the power but I also know there are also some genuine folk in that game who do want to make a positive change for all of us. All they need is a chance, and if they do turn out to be a dud then they wont get reelected, unlike the majors that have proven themselves untrustworthy and working against the best interests of us all time and time and time again.


          @EightImmortals: I would love to agree, but the problem is that its not our vote that elects any politician, the reality is its many people, and how do they know what we think we know. Fake news is a reality of not just Trump, its everywhere from Preschool, University, Churches, Mosques, Synagogues, News outlets.

          Unfortunately Duds can survive, a few more elections until we realise it.

          God getting older just means getting more cynical, as babies, it was so simple, who offers the nipple….


          @RockyRaccoon: I know what you mean, but somewhere underneath my deep layers of cynicism and bitter experience gained over many decades I still have a small tiny flickering light of hope that there must be at least some well meaning people left in politics. Of course what a person's intentions are and what they are able to do might be two different things. As long as an elected person is trying to do the right thing then I'll give them a go while voting against those who are blocking that right thing from happening. As I said before though, if we just keep voting to keep the liblab paradigm in power (lols, reminds me of The Jones Plantation) then we WILL keep getting more of the same.


    So are they really going ahead with the whole GST thing?

    I think they've got the whole lodgement thing down pat if my recent experience with doing a N10 myself is anything to go by.


      i think the GST was a lot worse in that they wanted to slap on a 'processing fee' and then your 10% because you know, your $25 xiaomi whatsit is angering gerry and peter etc.


      I might be wishful thinking here (that the PService could be playing a strategic game here)

      Maybe its a reality push back on the GST proposal.

      Trying to collect 10% on a $1 item is ludicrous. How do you pay it when you get an item thru the mail.

      1. The Postie would have to put a card in the letter box (Whats that worth to do?)
      2. You go down to Post Office, join the queue holding up other paying tranactions
      3. You produce your evidence of who you are
      4. You whip out card/coin to pay
        etc etc

      So the PO charges what amount above the 10c to cover their costs
      plus the Home Affairs costs.

      It was never workable.

      A more workable would have been to drop the exempt limit to say $250 so the GST of $2.50 would at least cver some of the costs of collecting the tax.

      • +4 votes

        I may not be so smart with all that fancy book learnin' stuff, but isn't 10% of $250 = $25?


      The GST for imports < $1000 is already legislated and kicks in on July 1 this year. They will ask stores like Ebay and Amazon to add it at the payment stage.

      There was some discussion of delaying it further, but the productivity commission did a review late last year and recommended no further delays:


    What is the OzB Legal fraternity position on extraterritorial application and enforcement of tax laws?

    • +1 vote

      And how do we know who which of these are truly qualified to make these assessments. Hell the courts are already full of legal positions, and they cant even get it right first/second or third times (appeals to higher courts)

      Good luck


    Would one able able to claim the $5 back on tax?

  • +1 vote

    Another outrageous tax slug by a government so completely out of its depth. It didn't have the spine to bring the budget back into order and continued spending like there's no tomorrow. It still doesn't have the spine to rein in its rampant spending so wants to put this slug on what it thinks will be an easy target.

  • +3 votes

    Purchases from Book Depository would stop overnight…


    Multiple cheap items could be sent to a freight forwarder who then re-sends as a single parcel?

    • +1 vote

      On many items it is the expensive Australian postage cost we are trying to avoid.


    Oh look democracy died some years ago with targeted political ads playing on people fears with fake news and lies.

    The people in power now paid for these services, and have appointed thousands of people that cannot be got rid of now.

    Its over, and we now wander to our fate, because there is no way to stop it.

  • +2 votes

    "The Department of Home Affairs ….?"

    One ring to rule them all?

    • +4 votes

      It's part of the new government structure. Coming soon: The Ministry of Truth, The Ministry of Love, the Ministry of Plenty and the Ministry of Peace.

      • +1 vote

        This country is getting ridiculous… And if they're listening I for one welcome our new alien overlords.

  • +4 votes

    This won't go through. If it does, we'll have fun with this one.

    How is the postal system going to evaluate value? It's stupid to even suggest that any parcel with a value under $1000 will incur $5 charge. The logistics on who is going to determine the value is already asinine. Is a letter worth 2c? If so, is it taxable? How bout the millions of micro parcels like cables or $0.01 deals? What are their statutory time frames for storage before disposal?

    What if there's a conflict between what's of $0 value/gift/warranty returns/self mail/…

    What if the cost of the phone value evaluation and invoicing exceeds the total revenue generated?

    What if they're flooded by a hypothetical portest by certain bargain sites by mailing a whole lot of $0.01 items just to flood the system and their storage?

    In the words of a unnamed poet on an unmarked grave, "talk shit, get hit". These politicians need a hurt real bad.

    • +6 votes

      mailing a whole lot of $0.01 items just to flood the system and their storage

      That was the first thought that came to my mind - ordering a lot of cheap crap from aliexpress to Gerry Harvey's home address.

      • +1 vote

        Yup. Who is responsible for the $5 tax then. And if it's not paid, tax payers would have to pay for this policy in a pathetic attempt to generate further tax revenue?

        It just reeks of stupid.


          the LNP

          they brought you the fit for purpose NBN

          they want to GST everything that comes on

          rememeber all their policies that affect your life come election time


          The ALP fixed the tender process of the NBN that started the downward spiral of that shit show.

          The ALP want to give power to unions which passes on the cost to consumers and people who lose their jobs due to offshoring.

          Both sides are crooks. I'll choose the one that I agree with more in principle.

        • +3 votes


          its a free country mate

          however i am always reticient to accept people who parrot the "Its Labor's fault" line just like the lamers currently in power…

          Who's been in power since 2013? If they cant clean up "Labor's mess" in 5yrs then when?

        • -1 vote

          The national debt wasn't fixed in the 6 years ALP was in power.

          They didn't stop the car manufacturing exodus that they claim the LNP caused.

          I'm not saying the LNP are an honest bunch but ALP is just whipping the NBN dead horse. The whipping typically stops when it is pointed out the troubles started with them.

        • +3 votes

          well enjoy your $65 bn in tax cuts then…

          to counter your points…

          1. The ALP had to deal with the GFC

          2. Holden quit during LNP and besides, I dont blame the govt. for poor product from American companies

          You will find blaming the NBN on Labor isnt popular wisdom but hey you keep tilting at 5yr old windmills…

        • +1 vote

          You're alluding that governments in power have to deal with circumstances unique to the time and there are different metrics to justify policy success/failure?

          Facts do not care about popular wisdom. I'm not tilting on anything. I didn't even bring it up, you did.

          When you twist my words and use it for Labour or any party propoganda, I'm going to provide counter arguments, regardless of which party I side with. If someone shoots Labour for echoing a statement in isolation, it's equally unfair.

          I think the discussion has shifted beyond reconciliation so I'll leave with this - do not be a blind loyalist. Both parties want you to bend over. Attack their current politics and policies on their own merit.

          Ps. I am against this Liberal policy so given the opportunity, I will mess with them and try to have others see this cash grab for what it is.


          @tonyjzx: Ah yes the parrots that are worried about others parroting on. Cuts both ways mate.

          The reality for all our politicians is that no one party controls the parliament.

          Lib or Lab, both require support of minor parties/independents.

          Neither can get all their policies thru. We the electorate want to "keep the bastards" honest - so we get no action from either side.

          So be honest its neither parties fault if they have to do tradeoffs, to get some of their policies thru. Neither can make the hard decisions because the Senate overides them. When its the Libs being those of the left cheer. When Lab is overridden, those of the right cheer.

          We elect one side or the other and we need to let that side play their strategy. We cant sit on the fence and expect them to be able to work without authority.

          Tie their hands behind their back but then dont criticise them if they cant do the job.

        • +1 vote

          I'm not even a Labor supporter, nor do i think that Shorten is any kind of leader however I cant think of any signature policy or acheievement of the LNP for the last 5yrs can you?

          The LNP has also distinguished itself with fine luminaries like Mr Dutton, Ms Cash and ol' Barnaby so its a case of the one eyed man in the land of the blind.

          if this is the standard you push then that's the standard of person you are.

        • +1 vote

          @tshow: I couldn't agree more with this:

          do not be a blind loyalist. Both parties want you to bend over. Attack their current politics and policies on their own merit.

          I'm so sick of people set in their ways "I'm a liberal voter", "I'm a labour man", etc.
          People need to assess the policies based on their merits when deciding who to vote for at each election.

          P.S. Both parties are fuсking us, I'm mostly just trying to figure out which one uses more lube at election time.


          Think of it as "what have you guys done for the last 5yrs"?

          Now labor aint perfect but people like that guy wants to brush the GFC under the carpet however labor actually did policy to counter the gfc. You can argue if they were effective or not, clearly there's 4 dead people that shows that some things didnt work out but that stuff is at least there, so I ask again, from 2013 to present, what will they put in the history books for the LNP? barnaby?

  • +1 vote

    So how long do we think it will take people to have bots buying hundreds of 1 cent items sent to random addresses and flooding the systems.

  • -1 vote

    A tariff on low value imports makes sense.

    • +3 votes

      Whilst big international businesses avoid paying a cent in tax here.


        Amazon Oz is now operating in Australia and is now subject to the same tax laws as hm, jb hifi, bing lee, etc.


          But will they do an Apple, and just ship their profits to another subsidary offshore, resulting in a reduced tax bill?



          mnc pays taxes in accordance with local and international tax laws.

          Apple is the largest taxpayer in the world, paying over US$35 billion in corporate income taxes in the last three years. Apple pays taxes in every country where we sell our products.

          The vast majority of the value in Apple products is created in the United States, where design, development, engineering work and more are accomplished. So under the current international tax system, the majority of Apple taxes are owed to the US.


          @whooah1979: you can legally minimise your taxes in accordance with local and international tax laws. even personal income tax can be legally minimised if you know how to game the system



          Apple a few years ago paid approximately $85m tax on $8b local revenue - so tax to revenue ratio is about 1%.

          Assuming they had about 20% profit from that revenue - 5.3% tax.
          Assuming 10% profit - 10.6% tax.
          5% profit - 21% tax.

          Apples actual margin for items is quite high, so the only reason profit will be so low is due to accounting.

  • +2 votes

    We gave away our freedom, we gave away our guns, and now we are merely an American military base, waiting to be a battlefield for a war Australians never wanted.

    This change - part of an American trade war - is merely yet another example of our pollies blindly following American policy. The best the pollies can argue is racist judgements but frankly at the end of the day, a traitors a traitor.

    Who on earth can objectively believe America has Australian interests at heart?


      At least America produces lots of stuff and isn't a complete rip-off.

      • +1 vote

        Tapped in the head mate - America's 80% odd service economy. it pays the interest on its debt by manufacturing war to sell weapons.

        It generates billions by electing pollies in other countries to buy American weapons,allow American military bases, and to spy on their citizens for the Americans.

        That the world we live in. The English were dumb enough to leave the Eu - the worlds biggest trading block - to suit America. The English are now screwed, and their health service will be sold to the Americans.

        Our pollies are currently hard at work selling us off to the yanks and pissing off our biggest trading partner China because they are racist.

        Selling our infrastructure for less than its worth to the yanks because of security concerns stinks. Who starts the most wars recently - America - now that's a concern.

    • -2 votes

      Who on earth can objectively believe America has Australian interests at heart?

      Mate, our politicians don't have Australia's interests at heart.

      I walk to the local shops and 1/10 people speak English, an apartment costs like $1 million and there are more women and young kids on the street begging than ever before. Sydney is a great place to live >.>

  • +1 vote

    They all (including Gerry) need to remember one of the reasons GST, etc didn't apply for under $1000 items:
    The paperwork required would exceed the money collected.
    (similar reason for the duty free allowance when arriving back home from overseas - if they tried to collect GST on all items people bought home, the queues at the airport would be enormous)

  • +1 vote

    Time to load up on USB C cables.