All car enthusiasts in Australia would know very well the complications involved in importing a vehicle from outside the borders to the country. However, with the craze for imported vehicles among a large section of the society, the rules and regulations do provide room for happiness, especially considering the strict laws governing the import of vehicles in other parts of the world.
Over the years, the Australian laws have undergone a lot of changes in vehicle imports, complying with changing markets globally, in the car industry.
There is a long list of eligibility criteria laid down by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport and the Australian Customs Border Protection Service, satisfying which, the permit to import the vehicle is available. There is a lot of paperwork involved though, in the entire process of vehicle imports Australia. Before shipping the vehicle, a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) needs to be obtained from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
The vehicle can be imported under many options, some of which are personal imports, cars exported from Australia and then re-imported, cars not available in Australia and vehicles manufactured before 1st January, 1989. The Department of Customs imposes a levy on the vehicle, under two heads viz, Duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST). The tax percentage depends on the age of the vehicle and the vehicle type, among others. This is in addition to the shipping and custom expenses, compliance costs, Luxury Car Tax (LCT), registration of the vehicle and insurance. Compliance costs are a bit complicated as the vehicle imported might require enhancements to make it roadworthy in Australia. It is an offense to import, sell or use any imported vehicle, whether used or new, without meeting all the pointers in the National Standard. Luxury Car Tax is applicable if the value of the vehicle is greater than a threshold level.
Once all the duty and taxes are paid, an authority to deal will be issued for the imported vehicle. An authority to deal is only issued if the requestor has a valid Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) is available failing which significant costs in storage of the vehicle might be incurred. For vehicles with air conditioning facilities require an additional license under Ozone Protection and Greenhouse Gas Management Act, 1989. This is to prevent the release of ozone depleting gases and synthetic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In addition, the cleanliness of the vehicle is inspected before being released from Customs, by the Department of Agriculture. The customs value of the car depends on many factors, including the original price of the vehicle from the country it was purchased from and the Australian Landed Value.
While the vehicle import regulations are comprehensive and elaborate, fortunately for consumers, there are import vehicle specialists to take care of all the paperwork and operations.