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Has Your Company Overpaid Australian Customs?

Most importers in Australia, both public and private companies, do not have an accurate picture of how much they are spending on import duties, as a percentage of their cost of goods sold (COGS). As a consequence, these importers often overpay duty, fail to claim available duty refunds, and may not have conducted much analysis on their supply chain and related party transactions to identify areas where costs could be reduced.

In today’s internationally competitive marketplace, it is important to understand how import duties can affect your company’s bottom line. Managing Directors, CFOs, and tax managers may be able to reduce a significant portion of their company’s tax obligations through careful analysis of this often overlooked area.

Further, though customs brokers are more than qualified to assist with the required formalities for importing goods into the country, most are not able to provide more sophisticated advice around supply chain planning and implementing strategies for duty reduction. Below are some important considerations for Australian importers:

  • The statute of limitations for claiming duty and GST refund entitlements is four years.
  • If your company has never conducted a review of your import data, you may not only be missing out on refunds and prospective savings, but may be making errors in the classification or valuation of imported goods, thereby creating a higher duty liability on goods and potential exposure in the event of a Customs audit.
  • A company’s lack of understanding of the total cost of importing can impact financial and business strategy decisions and have wider consequences for their bottom line.

The first step to identifying savings opportunities is to quantify your company’s actual duty spend. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service collects data on your company’s imports and you can obtain a record of the last four year’s worth of your import transactions.  The data can then be used to examine the types of products that attract the most duty, the sources of dutiable goods, the value of the goods, whether or not tariff concession orders or free trade agreements have been utilized to import the goods duty free, and more.

With this information, the opportunities for duty savings can become clear. Contact me on +61421506095 or to request a copy of a sample dashboard report, which we produce for our clients to help them identify potential opportunities for duty refunds and savings.

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