This appeared in the Sideswipe section of today’s New Zealand Herald paper:

“Buying overseas a taxing process

Louise just got pinged $170 after ordering $460 of clothes from Australia. “After talking to UPS, it seems that imports that are worth over $380 incur GST, and if it’s clothing it also incurs duty costs. Plus, there’s about $50 of handling charges. I wasn’t aware of this before ordering! I don’t think stores should be required to know the other countries’ customs prices but the Government should make the limit more widely known.”

That’s the second item in as many days by someone surprised at the GST cost of bringing goods into New Zealand which they ordered online.

I’ve referred to this before. See my posts on 21 and 23 May 2010.

The Customs Department do put information about this on their website so it’s not exactly a secret. However, it seems some at least are getting caught out.

With internet purchasing on the rise and with the GST rate change coming up on 1 October this issue is going to grow. The GST rate change means we’ll be able to order even less goods from overseas before triggering a GST or duty liability.

The way the exemption works is if the total duty and GST payable on the imported goods is $50 or less then there is an exemption. As you can see, once the GST rate goes up the total value of goods you can import under the exemption will decrease.

I know people should check these things out themselves before ordering stuff online but in my view it would be good to see some publicity from the Customs Department reminding consumers of the rules ahead of the 1 October GST change.


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