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Do you need HELP with Customs Brokerage and Clearance?

  • Do you want to import but not sure where to start?
  • Do you feel lost with all the procedures and legislation?
  • Are you looking for someone that can guide you and give you sound advice and professional service in this area?

Then you should contact us!

Advice on All Customs Clearance
and DAFF (AQIS) Procedures

Our customs brokerage and clearance experts will ensure a smooth transition of your goods through customs and minimise delays. We provide advice on how to clear your goods through Customs and DAFF (AQIS). Our customs brokers are well-versed with the latest Customs and DAFF (AQIS) regulations. Speak to us to learn more about the following services we provide:

Preparation and Electronic Lodgement
of All DAFF (AQIS) Entries

Do you know if your goods require an import permit? We can assist you in preparing all import permits ranging from a simple AQIS (DAFF) import permit for used machinery to a complex Customs permit for importing prohibited items including dealing with all government bodies on your behalf. Some of the more common permits required are for:

  • Used/Second hand Machinery
  • Biologicals
  • Foodstuffs
  • Livestock
  • Firearms
  • Tablet Presses

Please contact us here at Smith Lewis to help you with this process.

Preparation and Electronic Lodgement of all
Customs Entries, including Personal Effects

Our expert brokers will prepare and electronically lodge your entries directly with Customs. We use the latest industry approved software that directly links to the customs interactive system to help ensure your entries are all done in a timely fashion.

Do you wish to send your personal belongings (effects) to Australia? Is there someone else who wishes to send your personal belongings to Australia?

We also are experts in handling personal effects clearances into Australia and can assist you through this process and deal with Customs and DAFF (AQIS) on your behalf.

Table of Personal Belongings Treated as
Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPE's)

Personal belongings and household goods typically include but not limited to: Permanent residency requirements apply Number of months goods must be owned and used
Personal clothing and footwear, hygiene articles and personal grooming products but not fur apparel or perfume concentrates No
Non-motorised caravans, trailers and boats designed for use in sheltered waters for sport or recreation which conform to published specifications. 12 months
Aircraft of all types, not having more than one propulsion motor. Other conditions apply. 6 months
Machinery, plant and equipment. Other conditions apply. 12 months
Fur apparel, personal effects, furniture and household goods not covered above No 12 months
Furniture, carpets and rugs, crockery, cutlery and kitchen appliances No 12 months
Books, garden tools, lawn mowers, bicycles, vacuum cleaners, and a range of other personal or household items No 12 months

*Note: Items that have not been owned for more than 12 months will be eligible for duty and GST.

Source: www.customs.gov.au

What paperwork do I need to clear my UPE's?

Provide us with the following documents and our friendly and experienced customs brokers will assist you with your lodgement entry:

  • Completed and signed Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement ( Form B534)
  • Copy of your passport
  • List of all the goods included in the UPE's

It is important to remember that the better the information you provide the easier it will be for Customs to clear your goods. So please ensure that you detail what is in each box/carton on your list of goods. Also important to remember that all UPE's are mandatory inspected by DAFF (AQIS).

Optional Port Lodgements (OPL)

Do you have shipments arriving in other Australian States? Did you know Smith Lewis can clear your goods right here in Melbourne for you? Please let us know if you require our services on your Interstate Imports.

AOG and Aircraft Specialists

We are one of the few companies offering specialized customs clearance services in this area with a 24 hour service for the quick release of
aircraft spares.

Advice and Preparation of Motor Vehicle Import Permits with Department of Infrastructure

Do you need help clearing your motor vehicle import with the Department of Infrastructure Transport? We can help you.

We have customs brokers that are well-versed with vehicle importation. Talk to us and we will help prepare your vehicle import with minimal delay.

Advice and Preparation of Tariff
Concession Orders (TCO)

We help in the preparation of Tariff Concession Orders (TCO). This is a useful cost reduction tool for industries to be internationally competitive and can reduce your duty payments if approved by Customs.

Our customs brokers are well versed in the preparation of TCO applications to Canberra Customs. Talk to us to see if your goods are eligible or if you need advice on TCO.

Valuation Advice

Do you know what is included in the price of your goods for valuation purposes under the buying terms from your supplier? Are you aware that the following items change the value of your import and affect the Duty/GST paid?

  • Freight
  • Insurance
  • Foreign Inland Freight
  • Royalties
  • License fees
  • Production Assists

If you are unsure, please contact us and let us help you pay
the correct Duty/GST.

Tariff Advice

Do you need help to correctly classify your goods and get a specific ruling from Customs to ensure you are paying the correct amount of duty?

If so, please speak to us. We can assist and apply to Customs for a Tariff Advice for your goods.

Classification Advice

We are reliable partners in efficiently classifying all your goods, including plant and project equipment. We also offer import and export tariff classification in compliance to Customs (ACBP) legislation requirements. Provide us the details of the goods you wish to import /export and our customs brokers will handle the classification process for your convenience.

Duty Drawback Calculation

Do you export any or all of your imported goods? You may be eligible to claim your import duties once you have exported these goods. It is a simple process, so please let our experienced team know when you are exporting.

Duty Refund

In certain circumstances if your goods are damaged, pillaged, lost in transit or simply just not to specification, you may be eligible for full or part refund of your import customs duty. You can check with our friendly expert brokers on how we can assist you with it.

Advice on Free Trade Agreements

Australia has many Free Trade Agreements and your goods could qualify for duty free entry under these agreements. At present, we have agreements with the following countries:

  • ASEAN *
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Malaysia
  • NZ
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • USA

* ASEAN includes NZ, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia

Your goods MAY also qualify for duty free or reduced duty under the Developing Countries and Forum Islands Agreements. There are many countries under these agreements so you will need to check with us for this information.

Please check with our experienced Brokers if you think that your goods qualify for any of these agreements.

ATA Carnet and Temporary Imports

Are you aware that certain goods may be imported into Australia on a temporary basis for a period of up to 12 months without paying any customs duties/taxes?

There are two ways to import goods temporarily, the first is a Temporary Import under security, where you pay a security which is the amount equal to the customs duties and taxes you would pay upon importation. Upon export Customs will verify the goods and if satisfied all is correct the security paid will be reimbursed.

The second way to bring goods in on a Temporary Basis is under ATA Carnet. This is considered an "International Passport" for your goods where the payment of customs duties and taxes is guaranteed by an overseas body such as a Chamber of Commerce.

All Temporary Imports both under Security or ATA Carnet are done in compliance with Section 162 so you can focus on the core aspects
of your business.

Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duty Advice

Are you aware that certain goods from certain countries and suppliers have Dumping and/or Countervailing duty on them? Do you know what this is?

Please contact us so we can assist you in this area of anti-dumping and countervailing duties?

Prohibited Imports

Do you know if the goods you want to import are a Prohibited Import (PI)? There are many items on the Customs PI list which are either completely prohibited or allowed in with the correct permit. Some of these items include:

  • Firearms, weapons and ammunition
  • Performance and image enhancing drugs
  • Medicines including prescription medications,
    vitamins and mineral preparation formulas
  • Goods classed as Therapeutic goods such as
    alternative and herbal medicines,
  • Protected wildlife such as coral, orchids, caviar,
    ivory and hunting trophies
  • Agricultural and veterinary chemical products
  • Heritage-listed goods such as works of art, stamps,
    coins, archaeological objects and specimens
  • Defence and strategic goods

If you are unsure, please check with your broker at Smith Lewis prior to importation. Let us guide you through the process of applying for the correct permits with the correct government bodies where required.

Tradex Advice

The Tradex Scheme allows importers who wish to gain an up-front exemption from their Customs Duty and GST on certain ELIGIBLE goods. Goods can be exported in the same condition as imported, incorporated in other exported goods or subjected to a process or treatment after importing.

This allows our clients to free up cash flow as it defers the need to pay all Customs Duty and GST on their imports.

Commerce Markings

Are you aware that certain goods must adhere to strict labeling and trade description requirements by Customs (ACBP)? These items include:

  • Watches
  • Clothing
  • Footwear
  • Surfboards
  • Leather Goods
  • Medication

Please check with us if you have any questions on these requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Customs Clearance and Brokerage Melbourne

What is a customs broker and what do they do?

A customs broker is licensed by Australian Customs & Border Protection (ACBP) to clear import/export cargo electronically directly to Customs on your behalf. Your Custom Broker will handle all your customs clearance requirements including all documentation and liaison with all Customs Departments and DAFF (AQIS). Customs Brokers have to study for 3 years and sit a final exam to obtain their licenses and must now do continued professional development to keep their license so you are always getting correct and updated information.

What documents do I need to clear my goods
and do I need to have originals?

Air Freight — Air waybill, commercial invoice/packing list

Sea Freight — Bill of Lading, commercial invoice/packing list
and Packing Declaration

Supplementary documents may include, Customs and DAFF (AQIS) Import Permits, Fumigation and Phytosanitary Certs.

If you are not sure, please check with your Customs Broker.

We can do your customs clearance on email/fax documents and we will then determine for you if you require any Original Documents.

How do I pay for my Duty and GST?

There are a few options available for both payments which are:

Duty — can be paid directly to your Customs Broker who will then pay this on your behalf to Customs or you can apply to customs to set up a Direct Debit from your own bank account

GST — like customs duty you can pay this to your Customs Broker who will pay this on your behalf to the Australia Taxation Office (ATO) through Custom. You can also apply to have your GST deferred directly with the ATO (must meet their criteria) and you will be responsible for lodging a Business
Activity Statement (BAS)

You must be registered with the ATO to claim your GST.

What is a border hold that I have on my container?

Customs aim to screen 100% of all imports into Australia and from time
to time this can cause delays in your container being delivered. This is
not a personal hold on your goods. It is purely done to protect our Borders from illegal goods.

Can I speak to customs direct if I am not happy
with a decision they made on my goods?

Yes, all importers are welcome to speak to customs direct if they wish to find out why a decision has been made or just want some clarification. They can be contacted on 1300 55 80 99.


INCOTERMS are international rules for the interpretation of trade
terms used in international trade as formulated by the
International Chamber of Commerce.

What is Tariff Concession Order (TCO)?

A TCO is designed to help industry be internationally competitive by allowing duty free entry for certain goods where there is no local industry that produce the same or substitutable goods.

What is Duty/GST?

There are three structures of duty rates in Australia – 10%, 5% and Duty Free. This is payable on the cost of the goods only, however GST (10%) is payable on the total cost of the import. This is based on the value of the goods, transport and insurance and duty (if any).

What are Personal Effects?

Personal belongings are classified by the ACBP (Australian Customs and Border Protection) as unaccompanied personal effects. These are items included in the special category of goods that does not require lodgement of import declarations or payment of duty, GST and other taxes or charges. This includes items you have owned for more than 12 months such as:

  • Clothing
  • Books
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Sporting Equipment

Why Choose Smith Lewis over other Customs Clearance and Brokerage Melbourne Companies?

Smith Lewis are a family owned boutique business who pride themselves on personal customer service. We are a small dedicated team and no matter who you talk to here that person who takes your call will be able to assist you.
All our staff are cross trained so you will not be put through to lots of departments here!


What are my suppliers terms of sale? The terms of purchase of your goods will affect the shipping costs you are liable to pay. So understanding the basic "INCOTERMS" will ensure you know what you are paying for.

FOB (Free on Board)

Supplier pays all costs of getting the goods loaded onto the Vessel / Plane. All other costs for international freight/local charges, cartage to your premises and customs clearance in Australia are to the buyer.

CIF (Cost/Insurance/Freight)

Supplier pays all costs of getting the goods to the Australia Port/Airport. All other costs for local charges, cartage to your premises and customs clearance in Australia are to the buyer

CIF (Cost/Insurance/Freight)

As above but no insurance is covered by the supplier.

EXW (named place of delivery)

This simple arrangement places the onus on the buyer to carry out the whole shipping process. The seller just makes the goods available at his factory or warehouse at the agreed date: if he physically loads them it is at the other party's risk, unless specific wording is added to the contract to vary this term.

The buyer is responsible for loading, transportation, clearance and unloading. 'Ex Works' is also the typical basis of making initial quotations when the actual shipping costs at a given time are not known.

DAP (Delivered at Place)

This term was originally called DDU (Deliver Duty Unpaid). Supplier pays all costs to your door EXCLUDING customs clearance costs and duties/taxes

DDP (Delivery Duty Paid)

Supplier pays all costs to your door including customs clearance and duties/taxes.

NOTE: Once you have placed the order with your supplier please let them know that they are to send you a copy of all the shipping documents as soon as they can so you can let your customs broker know. The supplier can also send a copy direct to you nominated customs broker.

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