duties on a bike imported into australia
December 22, 2010 4:55 PM   Subscribe

YANML or Customs agent: i'm importing a cargo bike to australia, I've been told there is an import duty concession for complete bikes but i'm confused. The bike (which has not been sent yet) will be arriving at the port, I've never had to clear anything through customs before and am keen to hear from anyone with advice on how to make it simple. Oh and my cargo bike has three wheels so it's technically a tricycle.

numerous websites claim there are no import duties on complete bikes imported into australia.

This is aparantly the relevant tarrif code:

Tariff Concession (0104891) below

Tariff Code: 8712.00.00

Reference No: 0104891
Schedule4 Item: 50

Op. 18.06.01 Dec. date 31.08.01 - TC 0104891 50

But the only customs documentation I can find seems to say it has been revoked.

But that revokation is from 2003. Websites discussing the import duties are much more recent.


As my cargo bike has three wheels, I'm wondering if it's technically a trike. I've read about people claiming you don't need to wear bike helmets on trikes as all relevant laws are for bicycles and therefore does not apply to a three wheeled vehicles. I don't know how that worked out for them, though I'm hoping that there has been some kind of declaration that a trike - despite the extra wheel, is a kind of bicycle.

The whole thing is going to cost more than $1000 so I'm expecting to have to pay duties and gst

The bike is arriving at the port, any advice on how I sort through all the customs procedure is very welcome
posted by compound eye to Law & Government (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: oh...
just realised that page links to a 82 page guide on importing bikes into australia
posted by compound eye at 4:58 PM on December 22, 2010

Is it a new bike or a used one? I wasn't charged any duty on my household goods, because the (used) value of them was so low.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:35 PM on December 22, 2010

Last time I imported something over $1000 (bike parts coincidentally) was a few years ago now, I ended up just looking up a customs broker in the yellow pages. In exchange for about $100-150 (on top of the duty and GST obviously) they sorted all the paper work and had the gear couriered to me at work. Certainly worth ringing someone and getting a quote, you're going to pay a $40-50 processing fee anyway according to the site you linked to, if it isn't much extra to save you the hassle you might find it worth it.

If you really want to know up front about whether you will cop duty, ring up customs. I haven't done it myself, but by all accounts they are quite helpful. The break down on the sight you linked to (with duty, and then gst applied to the duty and shipping cost) agrees with what I was charged.
posted by markr at 6:19 PM on December 22, 2010

Definitely use a customs broker (any one will do). We had some art shipped from Vietnam, and the dock wouldn't release the crate until we had a broker do all the paperwork for me. I had to go to the storage facility, and pick it up (my little car was cute amongst all the trucks). If it's used then the value would be based on its used price.
posted by shazzam! at 6:31 PM on December 22, 2010

Best answer: Thought I'd commented earlier, but obviously not. Yes, definitely ring Customs; every time (about 5) I've called they've been extremely helpful. And nth-ing using a broker - afaik you can do the paperwork yourself, but it's got to be submitted through a broker anyway.

As for helmets - in Qld at least, yes. I can't find the determination that defines 3 or 4 wheeled human-powered devices as "bicycles", but it's tangentially mentioned in the "Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009" (Sect. 256). Interestingly, paying passengers on 3 or 4 wheeled bikes don't have to wear helmets…

(Looks like the Vic definition is available here - "A bicycle is a vehicle that has two or more wheels…")
posted by Pinback at 8:03 PM on December 22, 2010

OK, seems like you can lodge the paperwork for non-mail imports yourself. This is the form, this is the guide.
posted by Pinback at 8:18 PM on December 22, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for all your answers,
pinback gets the special tick for finding the victorian definition of bicycle,
well done!
posted by compound eye at 10:00 PM on December 22, 2010

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