RoRo Shipping of Vehicles to Australia

Vehicle Import Approval

If you plan to register the vehicle or trailer on Australia’s roads it is essential that you contact the Department of Transport before you ship the vehicle to ensure that it can meet the safety requirements to obtain an import approval for Australia.

You must apply for a Vehicle Import Approval and ensure that the vehicle has no asbestos contained in any components as this material is a prohibited import.

It is important that this import approval has been received prior to arrival of the vehicle in Australia otherwise Border Force will not release the vehicle from the wharf and expensive storage charges may accrue to your account.

More information about these important aspects and the Vehicle Import Approval Application can be found on the Department of Infrastructures website HERE

Customs Duties, GST and Luxury Car Tax (LCT) Payable

Please contact us for any specific advice you may need about your cargo as the information below is general and may not cover your exact circumstances.

The Customs Duty is payable on the Customs Value at a rate of 5% for most vehicles. This includes trucks, buses, motorhomes and some types of towable cargo.

Some types of vehicles that are 30 years or older are duty free as long as they comply with the following:
SCHEDULE 4: Item 41D 941 Vehicles of an age of 30 years or more, being:
(a) utilities or pick-ups, having a g.v.w. not exceeding 3.5 tonnes classified under 8704.21.10 or 8704.31.10 of Schedule 3; or
(b) passenger motor vehicles

Cars, trucks, buses and towable cargo that are made and shipped directly from a country that Australia has a Free Trade Agreement with are duty free. HERE is information about Australia’s FTAs.

There are some concessions for vehicles that have been bequeathed to the importer however please contact us to discuss your particular circumstances.

GST is payable at the rate of 10% on the Value of Taxable Importation.

HERE is how import duty and GST is calculated.

Luxury Car Tax is payable in addition to Customs Duty and GST when the Value of Taxable Importation exceeds the Luxury Car Tax threshold amount. A car, for Luxury Car Tax purposes, is a motor-powered road vehicle designed to carry a load of less than two tonnes and fewer than nine passengers. It does not include motorcycles or similar vehicles.

The LCT is calculated at the rate of 33% and is paid on the amount by which the value exceeds the threshold. 

The threshold Value of Taxable Importation is

  • $71849.00
  • Fuel efficient car limit $84916.00
  • current as at 2022/23.

Vehicles manufactured in Australia

You may import an Australian manufactured motor vehicle or a motorcycle on a duty free basis, providing you have owned and used the vehicle overseas.

However, you will be required to pay GST and, where applicable, LCT on the vehicle if no GST or applicable LCT was paid when the vehicle was originally exported from Australia and a vehicle import approval is still required from the Department of Infrastructure.

All privately imported vehicles are subject to the same rates of Customs duty, GST and where applicable, Luxury Car Tax as commercially imported vehicles. 

Valuing your Vehicle for Customs Purposes

The Customs value of imported private motor vehicles and motorcycles (whether new or used) is assessed in the following way: 

The Transaction Value Method

The Customs value of new or second hand privately imported motor vehicles or motor cycles will ordinarily be calculated using the “transaction value” method.
Under this method the 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. 

Alternate Methods of Valuation

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 in Australia as assessed by a person qualified in valuing such vehicles and motorcycles. 

Concessions for Tourists and Temporary residents

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 on them, 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 organization which has a reciprocal arrangement with the Australian Automobile Association, or
  • 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 whilst 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. 

Motor Vehicle Standards Act

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 offense to import any new or second-hand vehicle unless: it meets the safety and emissions standards applying to vehicles to be used on Australian roads, or 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. 

Vehicle Registration Formalities

Australian Customs has no control or authority over motor vehicle, trailer or motorcycle specifications or registration requirements in Australia.

Before bringing your vehicle to Australia, you should check with the motor registration Branch of the State or Territory where it is intended to be registered to ensure that it will comply with their requirements.

Vehicles can be temporarily imported and driven on Australian roads for the period of carnet validity (or temporary importation period) provided registration is still current in the vehicle’s country of origin.  

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