The Minister of Customs has just announced the low value import de minimis is to stay at $60.

This follows a review of the threshold which considered whether it should be increased. The review was also to look at how the de minimis applied because it can be confusing when imported goods are subject to tariff duty and GST.

I’m not sure whether that means there will be no change to the calculation method. That’s not clear from the Minister’s announcement.

Just to recap: what this means is, if the combined tariff duty and GST on the imported goods is less than $60 it will not be payable to Customs. For an item which has only GST charged on importation [because no tariff duties apply] that means if it is worth less than $400 the GST will not be collected by Customs. For items which are subject to tariff duty, such as some clothing, the free import value will be much less, more likely around $300 but it does depend on how freight, insurance and other costs are calculated.

New Zealand retailers who were worried the duty-free limit might increase will breathe a sigh of relief. There’s unlikely to be a sudden rise in people importing goods purchased online.


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