Australian Customs Regulations and Contact Information

A Hot Tip about Customs in Australia

Last updated: 23 Feb 2011

The Australian Government expects the international trading community to comply with Customs-related laws in all transactions involving the importation of goods and services. Minimum documentation begins with a waybill and commercial invoice.


The Australian Customs Service regulates the movement of goods and people across the Australian border. A principal objective is to maximize voluntary compliance and eliminate future errors. Customs does not scrutinize every transaction relying on clients to self-assess the correctness of transactions. Australian importers are legally responsible for the accuracy of information supplied to Customs, regardless who prepares the documents. Cargo reporters, importers, customs brokers, freight forwarders, depot and warehouse proprietors, financial institutions, information storage facilities, bureau services, owners, stevedores, etc. may be subject to compliance checks conducted by Customs.. The importer is also responsible for verification of the country of origin. The U.S. shipper should declare on the commercial invoice “the goods are of U.S. manufacture and comply with AUSFTA”.


Penalties apply for non-compliance with Customs legislation, and offences do not require intent to be proven. Information and legislation requirements associated with import and export transactions are extensive. It is the responsibility of importers to familiarize themselves with the information provided by Customs. All imported goods must be entered in accordance with approved documentation, classified correctly, and any surplus goods reported. Items not ordered, samples, and promotional merchandise must also be entered. All relevant commercial documents must be retained for five years from the date of entry.




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Posted: 06 January 2010, last updated 23 February 2011

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