Paying Customs Duty / GST When Ordering Online from Overseas

Hi All,

I am planning to buy some motorbike gear from overseas (Champion Helmets or Chrome Burner, both in Netherlands) and wondering how it works with ordering under / over $1000?

I tried to find the information online but made me a little confused. From what I understand I would be paying 10% GST on goods under $1000. Is that per each item or the whole order altogether?

Also if it's over $1000, would I be paying both GST and Customs Duty (5%), or Customs Duty only?

I think both of these website won't charge me GST from their end during checkout, so how do they charge it at the border? Will they send me a piece of paper and I'll go and pay it somewhere and receive my goods?

Thanks for the advice!


  • I have not fact checked any of this so please don’t take it as gospel, but my understanding is that under $1000 the company should be charging you GST at point of purchase, if they do more than a certain $ value worth of business in Australia.

    If your total is over $1000 and you haven’t paid GST at point of purchase you will be charged at Customs and the requisite fees for processing on top of that.

    Happy for someone else to correct or you to dig deeper on tinternet.

    • That's basically correct. Retailer should charge GST for all sales if they do more than (IIRC) $75k of sales into Aust. per year. If they don't there's not much the ATO can do about it so it's in the too hard basket for now. Over $1k you maybe charged GST and duty if applicable when it arrives locally if the retailer didn't already collect it. Under $1k you wont be charged.

      Can you import and use helmets from OS? I know there used to be an issue with not having ADR approval so technically aren't legal to use here. Have a feeling there's been some updates to that but may want to check.


        "However, From 1 July 2018, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) may be collected by overseas vendors of such low value goods when imported from overseas by consumers in Australia. GST will be charged at the point of sale and not at the border."

        I guess "may" be collected is referring to if the business with them is over or under 75K per annum. Thanks for clarifying this guys!

      • re: safety standards

        "All Queensland motorcycle, quad bike riders and passengers must wear a helmet that complies with: Australian standards AS1698 or AS/NZS1698, or. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe standard (UN ECE 22.05)",standard%20(UN%20ECE%2022.05).

  • It's per shipment.
    And includes the cost of shipping and any insurance.

  • Make sure they are not charging you VAT as it is coming out of the EU.

  • The status of the under-$1000 orders are a shambles. Some overseas stores will collect it (who knows if they actually pass it on) and some wont. Where it hasn't been collected, it's a bit of luck of the draw if you get charged once the item lands in Australia. Sometimes it might be charged through the courier on the way in and sometimes not. I've yet to get anything from customs themselves to say I need to pay before collecting an item.

    What I do know is that it's made me think twice about ordering stuff online from overseas. We've all got Gerry Harvey, that SOB, to thank for this mess!

  • I have a question 🙋🏻‍♂️
    In the case where you haven’t been charged GST yet and require to pay customs and the requisite fees 💰, can you pay the customs fees online and then have the parcel continue to be delivered to its destination? Or do you have to physically go to customs to pay them and then pick up your parcel from them? 📦 How does it work? 🤔

    • Yeah, has anyone here had experiece with paying duty, if so, how? Please share your story.

      • In my own case (bought a Huawei phone from the US, in a fit of madness), after the package arrived in Australia, the courier company (Fedex) called me up and told me I needed to pay the GST/Excise/Other charges.

        I paid them (by credit card), and then they sorted it out with customs and then delivered the package to me.

        I had to pay 10% for GST and 5% for Customs Duty and 1.5% for Fedex's Customs handling charges.

    • They'll contact you, you pay via card and once that's cleared they'll deliver. That's for couriers at least. I haven't been charged GST or duty by Aust post in many many years so the process has likely changed so I won't bother detailing what I used to do.

  • Our office used to order tools from a retail shop in the EU that doesn't charge GST. They then shipped it to a forwarder that didn't charge VAT. They also used a courier that didn't charge GST. It pays (no GST in this case) to shop around.

    • I've just gone ahead with my order and FedEx will deliver it. It's under $1000, I hope they won't try to skim GST from me.

      • Unfortunately, they will and slap you $80 for Customs and AQIS clearance on top of that.

        • But ABF says "GST will be charged at the point of sale and not at the border" .
          The item is under $1000 too so they shouldn't be coming up with anything else.

          • @ozyack: Mini2 is incorrect. You won't be charged if the value is under $1k and a new helmet certainly wouldn't need to go through AQIS.

          • @ozyack: Hmmm my Fedex invoices disagrees even though my CIF value for the orders are less than $1k.

            • @mini2: If that is the case then you paid GST when you shouldn’t have.

            • @mini2: There are several scenarios where you could be charged regardless of value (eg multiple shipments in short time frames will have their values combined) but without knowing your details I can't say. The fact remains that for the typical person, they will not be charged.

            • @mini2: "Invoices" sounds like you had more than one? Were they all with FedEx? Maybe they keep a track of them.

  • Just to let everyone know that I have received my helmet today without paying any GST or any duty. It was $670 + $50 FedEx shipping cost = $720 total value. Thank you all for your contribution!