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Importing Japanese knives into Australia


Importing Japanese knives into Australia, direct from Japan
GST, import duty and fees

Most of the orders Knife Japan sends to our customers in Australia are valued under AUD$1000, and as such are not subject to GST or fees of any kind. 

The rules change for orders valued at over A$1000. In that case there’s extra to pay locally - GST and fees - before you take delivery of your order.

It’s worth noting that for physical goods under $1000, some seller platforms (eBay and Etsy, for example) are required to collect GST for the Australian government, on all orders, at point of sale. So if you've made a small purchase from one of those sites in the past and found yourself paying GST, that's why.

Knife Japan is *not* required to collect GST.

The calculation for GST, if it applies to your order, is as follows:

(purchase value + cost of shipping/insurance + import duty) x 10%

Import Duty
The good news is that import duty isn’t levied under any scenario for Japanese-made goods imported into Australia from Japan. That’s because all products available from Knife Japan are free of import duty under the terms of the CPTPP Trade Agreement introduced in 2018.

If your purchase is over $1000 then we recommend insurance for postal deliveries, and we'll pay that. Insurance is cheap and you might pay $1 in GST at your end. Let's not worry about that.

Shipping is free with Knife Japan for all items to all destinations, so you won’t pay additional GST on shipping. We’ll deduct a nominal amount for shipping on your invoice, so it won’t enter the calculation (if we note 'free shipping' on the invoice customs will include the franked postage value in their calculation).

So, for orders over A$1000, Australian GST is a flat 10% of the value of your order.

Please note! If you buy more than one knife and the order exceeds $1000, we can split your order and keep each of the parcels we send valued at under that GST threshold.

So it’s more accurate to say that if you purchase an item from Knife Japan that has a value of over $1000 you’ll have to pay GST upon import. And some fees. Read on!

On top of the GST on your order the Australian government issues a fee of $88. (One note here: we were advised by DHL that this Import Processing Fee is $88. There’s a link on the Border Force website that indicates the fee is $90.)

If sent by DHL Express a disbursement fee of $22 is charged by them, related to the payment of GST and this government fee.

To summarise:

・If your import is valued at under A$1000 then no fees or tax apply. All good.

・If your order comprises more than one item and exceeds $1000 in value then we can split your order to sidestep the GST and fees. We’re allowed to do that.

・If your purchase is of a single item valued at over A$1000 then GST, government and carrier fees will apply. If arriving with DHL then you can pay your GST and fees online and quickly receive your order. If arriving through the postal system your delivery will be withheld, Border Force will contact you and you’ll have thirty days to pay the total tax and fees to enable release of your parcel to Australia Post. 

Here’s a summary of how imports costs would play out for a single item, made in Japan and valued at $1100, shipped by DHL from Knife Japan to an address in Australia:

Knife value A$1100
plus GST $110
plus Government fee $88
plus DHL fee $22
total $1320


How do I figure out the exchange rate for calculating Australian GST?

Knife Japan transactions are conducted in US dollars, and it will be the rate applied by your credit card company that dictates how much you pay for your order in Australian dollars. Credit card exchange rates are generally the best you’ll find. But that is only related to your initial purchase. 

The Australian government uses a different exchange rate figure to calculate your tax if the invoice currency is not Australian dollars. The exchange rates are consolidated weekly and published in the Government Gazette each Wednesday. Follow the links here.

Can I have an Australian dollar invoice for my tax records?

Sure. Let us know what number shows up on your credit card statement and Knife Japan will provide a matching invoice in A$ for your tax return.

My item value is over $1000. Who do I pay GST? How do I pay GST?

This government fee and the GST must be paid into the government coffers before the delivery clears customs.

If we send the parcel by DHL then they’ll take care of the brokerage and send you an email or sms to facilitate online payment. They charge a disbursement fee of $22 for this service.

If we use the postal system then Border Force will write to you with a contact number to call, and payment of GST will be handled through them before the parcel is released to Australia Post.

How do I avoid paying GST on my import into Australia?

Three ideas:

1)   Learn how to sail. Buy a yacht. Sail to Japan (don’t forget to register your port visit). Buy a nice knife. Sail back to Australia. Tell no one.

2)   Ask your seller to understate the value of your import. No, on second thoughts don’t do that. It’s illegal, and anecdotal evidence suggests customs authorities are vigilant when it comes to knife imports from Japan and they can confiscate your order without redress if they so choose.

3)   Get someone else to pay.

How strict is Australian Border Force in checking the stated value of imports?

Sorry, we don’t have an answer to this question.

Australian Border Force states on their website that if they don’t accept your declared value then they’ll contact you for evidence. So it would make sense that they have procedures in place that might lead to that action.

As an Australian resident your purchase under A$1000 from Knife Japan is not subject to GST and will be delivered to you without further charge. Import duty is not applied to any knives sent from Japan no matter the value, provided Japan is the country of origin (ie if they were made in Japan).

Purchases with an import value of over A$1000 are subject to GST and some government and carrier handling fees upon arrival. 

If you have any questions about our products or how we can deliver them to you in Australia, please drop us a line using the form below.

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