25% of Courier Parcels Evade NZ Import Duty

2-minute read

With the rise of internet shopping more and more New Zealanders are importing goods from overseas using postal and international courier services.

Whether the goods are a pair of sunglasses from America or a carton of cigarettes from France; a cellphone from Hong Kong or a bolt of cloth from Scotland – all will be liable for Customs duties and charges when they arrive.

Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says an operation targeting express delivery low value imports has found more than a quarter are undervalued and evading import duty.

Operation Hilton II examined 2562 express consignments and found 733 consignments were above the low-value threshold.

“High value goods are being mis-described and undervalued to speed up border clearance and evade import duty. A total of $158,000 in lost revenue has been collected as a result of this operation.

“If this operation is anything to go by, the loss of revenue adds up to millions of dollars a year. This is an unacceptable abuse of the express pathway,” Mr Williamson says.

Customs’ express-lane is designed for clearing low-value goods when the revenue owed is less than $60, and therefore not collected. 

“Everything from expensive electronics to aircraft parts is coming in under the guise of being low value goods. This is occurring for both commercial and privately imported goods,” Mr Williamson says.

In April, electronic parts imported from the United States, which were declared at $326, were discovered to have a value of $24,304. 

The false declaration is usually made overseas at the point of dispatch and local freight companies submit this information to Customs at face value.

“Customs is keeping a close watch and working with the freight industry to find a solution.

People need to be aware that expensive goods bought online may actually be from overseas and liable for import duty, GST, and transaction fees,” Mr Williamson says.

Customs deals with more than four million low value freight imports each year and clears these electronically to make it faster and easier for importers and freight companies.

Press Release: New Zealand Customs

Question: Are you planning to import but not sure if your goods attract any Customs fees? Contact us today to avoid any delays in Customs clearance of your goods.

Do you know of other people that will find this article useful? Great, please share it on social media. Thank you!