What You Might Need to Consider When Importing a Car to Australia

Posted on: 19 June 2017

If you purchased a car from out of the country and want to import it to Australia, the process may not be as easy as you would assume. There are a number of import laws that apply to vehicles in particular, and unexpected costs you might face. Note a few things to consider in advance when it comes to importing cars to Australia, and discuss these with a customs broker or freight forwarder as needed, so you can make your plans for getting your car into the country properly.

Duty and GST

Virtually anything imported into a country will face duty costs as well as GST, or a goods and services tax. The amount of these costs for a vehicle will usually vary, depending on the age and value of the vehicle itself; these amounts may also change over time, as dictated by current laws. There may also be what is called a luxury car tax levied against your vehicle, if it's value is over a particular dollar amount. Talk to a customs broker about the current duty and GST for vehicles, and for your car in particular, so you can plan on this cost when importing the car.

Safety of the vehicle

Vehicles imported to Australia need to meet certain safety requirements before they can be legally driven on Australian roads. This may include requirements for the car's emissions and fumes. As with taxes and duties, these requirements may change over time and will vary according to the car's make and model, year, mileage, and the like. While most brand new cars will easily pass these requirements, speak to a customs broker if your car is used, to ensure that it will be able to pass all compliance tests for import.


Even if the vehicle is able to pass any tests and requirements for emissions and safety, it may need to be properly cleaned before and after it's imported. It may also need to go through a quarantine check, to note if there is anything in the vehicle that is not allowed over the border. Also, you are not typically allowed to keep personal items in the vehicle while it's being imported, as personal items may fall under a different classification for import and may face other fees and duties, and may also need a separate border inspection. A customs broker or freight forwarder can tell you how to legally prepare the vehicle and arrange for its cleaning before and after its import.