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Research by Country/Region January 20, 2018  
AUSTRALIA: CUSTOMS, TAXES and DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS for IT PRODUCTS and SERVICES IMPORTS

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A. Is this country a member of the Information Technology Agreement?

B. Customs documentation requirements for IT products

C. Software: duties and taxes, updates, licenses, electronically delivered

D. IT services: tax treatment and other regulations

E. Refurbished, used, or repaired computer equipment imports


A. IS THIS COUNTRY A MEMBER OF THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT?
YES
Signatories to the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) have eliminated their import duties on a wide range of information technology products, including software and computer hardware. For more information on the ITA, and exact tariff elimination schedules of signatories, click here.
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B. CUSTOMS DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS FOR IT PRODUCTS

What are the documentation requirements for the physical import of software? For other information technology products?
Customs requires a commercial invoice with the software. This should clearly state the amount paid for the software, as well as the full name and address of the importer. This holds true for all other information technology products.
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C. SOFTWARE: DUTIES and TAXES, UPDATES, LICENSES, ELECTRONICALLY DELIVERED

DUTIES AND TAXES ON SOFTWARE IMPORTS

Are duties assessed on the intellectual property of the software or on the medium on which it is presented?
In Australia, there is no duty on the importation of software.
    Are taxes assessed on the intellectual property of the software or on the medium on which it is presented?
    A 10% Goods and Sales Tax (GST) is levied on the landed value of the software (CIF) (purchase price, plus insurance and freight charges). The GST is applied to the intellectual property rather than the medium. (GST is charged to domestic as well as imported products.)

    Is customized software treated differently than packaged software?
    Customized software is treated the same as packaged software.
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    IMPORTS OF SOFTWARE UPDATES

    What are the customs duties and tax implications for software sold with updates when the full sales price, including cost of updates, is shown on the original commercial invoice? Are duties and taxes paid on that amount? What happens when the updates are sent at a later date? Are duties/taxes applied again? If so, based on what value? How should information presented on the commercial invoice for the original and subsequent shipments to avoid paying duties/taxes more than once on a single sale?
    There is no duty on the importation of software in Australia (see above), and commercial value cannot enter the country without incurring GST. The exporter is responsible for calculating what percentage of the original sale price that each upgrade attracts and attaching a commercial invoice to the upgrade which reflects this value.

    One example would be a case where the original purchase price for an application is US$2,000, which includes three upgrades. The exporter may deem that the first shipment is worth US$1,000. The three remaining upgrades may be shipped with commercial invoices stating the value of each shipment is US$333. The total amount of the four shipments is US$2,000. As each shipment is processed through Customs, a GST amount of 10% of the landed value of the good will be applied.
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    SOFTWARE LICENSES: CUSTOMS CLASSIFICATION, IMPORT DUTIES, TAXES, OTHER

    Are software licenses classified in Harmonized System 4907?
    Yes, licenses fall under 4907.00.90.34 of the Harmonized System.

    Are import duties/taxes applied? If so, on what cost/price base are they levied?
    Duties are levied at 5% of the cost of printing the license.

    Are withholding or other additional taxes applied on software licenses? If yes, how?
    A GST amount of 10% is levied on the landed value of the license, including freight charges, insurance costs, and duties.

    If a U.S. license agreement is included in the packaging or is part of the installation/registration of shrink-wrapped software imported from the United States, would that agreement be binding on consumers in your market? If so, would U.S. or local laws pertain?
    U.S. licensing agreements are binding on all parties in Australia. In Australia, the copyright and intellectual property rights of the goods are protected under the Trades Practices Act in Australia. Any copyright litigation with jurisdiction in Australia would be dealt with under Australian law.
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    SOFTWARE DELIVERED OVER THE INTERNET/ELECTRONICALLY DELIVERED SOFTWARE

    Are taxes applied to software delivered to the end-user over the Internet? If so, on what value?
    No. GST is only applicable for goods that physically enter the Australian market. As such, GST is not applicable to electronically transferred software.

    Would the situation be different if this software were instead delivered to a distributor who has a license to produce (replicate) and sell the software?
    If the software was delivered to a distributor who has license to replicate and sell the product, then the distributor is obliged to pay the GST tax.

    What are the documentation requirements for the electronically delivered import of digitized products (i.e. software, movie downloads) over the Internet or other networks?
    Customs has no jurisdiction over electronically delivered software.

    Must an electronically delivered software import be accompanied by a physical shipment of the same product?
    Electronic shipments of software do not require a physical shipment of the product.
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    D. IT SERVICES: TAX TREATMENT AND OTHER REGULATIONS

    Are services (i.e. training, set-up, etc) relating to the sale of software taxed? If so, at what rate and based on what value?
    If the training, set up, etc, are bundled in with the cost of the software, then GST is charged on the value of the bundled good and service. If the training, set up, etc, is an additional cost and is performed in Australia, then the U.S. company is expected to charge the local client GST and remit that amount to the Australian taxation authorities. GST is charged at 10%.

    Are U.S. IT solution providers permitted to send personnel into the country to set up hardware/software-related systems?
    U.S. IT solution providers are permitted to send personnel to provide support services.

    Are special visa, work permits, and/or professional certification by an accredited body required?
    U.S. citizens can apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) through the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA)'s website at http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/

    The conditions on a Short Validity Business ETA are:
    • It is valid for a visit to Australia for business meetings, conventions, conferences or a short term project requiring a high level of skill. This does not include being employed by a company in Australia.
    • It is valid for a single visit within 12 months from date of issue
    • The maximum length of the visit is three months
    U.S. citizens who are not of good health or have criminal convictions are not permitted to enter Australia.

    No professional certification is required to provide hardware and software support.
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    E. REFURBISHED, USED, OR REPAIRED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT IMPORTS

    1. REFURBISHED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
    Is the import of refurbished computer hardware, parts, and accessories (including toner cartridges) permitted?
    It is permissible for second-hand equipment to be imported and sold in the Australian market.

    If so, what are the documentation requirements?
    Documentation requirements are the same as with new equipment. It should contain a commercial invoice with purchase value, and shipping and insurance costs.

    Is special labeling required?
    No special labeling is required. For example, second-hand networking equipment should still have the original electronic certification approvals on it, and these are acknowledged worldwide.

    What value should be shown on the invoice?
    It should contain a commercial invoice with purchase value, and shipping and insurance costs.

    How are duties and taxes assessed?
    No tariff is applied to these goods. The goods are treated as if they were new goods, and as such, a GST amount of 10% is applied to the landed value of the goods.
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    2. USED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
    Is the import of used computer hardware, parts, and accessories (including toner cartridges) permitted?
    The importation of used computer hardware is allowed in Australia.

    If so, what are the documentation requirements?
    Documentation requirements are the same as with new equipment.

    Is special labeling required?
    No special labeling is required.

    What value should be shown on the invoice?
    It should contain a commercial invoice with purchase value as well as shipping and insurance costs.

    How are duties and taxes assessed?
    No tariff is applied. A GST amount of 10% is charged on the landed value of the goods including shipping and insurance costs.
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    3. REPAIRED COMPUTER EQUIPMENT

    Are duties and taxes assessed on the re-import of repaired computer equipment?
    If the goods are re-imported under warranty, then no GST is applied. GST is applied at 10% of the landed value of the repaired goods including insurance. No duties are applied to new or second-hand computer products, and none are applied to re-imported repaired equipment.

    How should the commercial invoice appear?
    If the goods are not warranty repairs, then the commercial invoice must show the value of the repairs that were carried out.
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    RESPONSE INFORMATION

    This response was prepared by the U.S. Department of Commerce/Commercial Service in Sydney, Australia, in March 2003. For further clarification please contact:
    Duncan Archibald
    Commercial Specialist
    duncan.archibald@mail.doc.gov
    61-2-9373-9212

    Special Notes: The above information is intended to serve only as unofficial guidance. In seeking to obtain government rulings in specific cases, it will often be necessary to refer to special laws, separate regulations and announcements, and case-by-case decisions by the government. Beyond the general guidelines shown above, legal counsel should be retained at an early stage of consummation of a major procurement contract, and before entering into any legal commitments.

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