'What's my duty?' Customs launches tax, fee calculator for online shoppers

Work out the tax man's slice of your online purchase

The New Zealand Customs Service has launched What’s My Duty?, an import duty estimator to help people buying goods online know how much duty and GST they may be liable for, plus import transaction and biosecurity fees.

“The rise in online shopping has been phenomenal,” says Carolyn Tremain, Comptroller of Customs, “However a lot of people buying goods online don’t realise that they may have to pay duty and GST when the goods arrive into New Zealand — what they’re actually doing is importing.”

What’s My Duty allows shoppers to choose from a list of the most common products bought online and calculates the import duty and GST required to be paid.

If the amount to pay is less than $60, then the amount is waived under the de minimis provision of the Customs and Excise Act 1996.

For most items, this means that there’s nothing to pay if the goods cost less than $400.

Customs collected over $11.3 billion in Crown revenue in the 2011/12 financial year.

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6 Comments & Questions

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400 includes shipping too.... very generous for local retailers.

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Not for shoes though as it a 10% duty... so the threshold incl freight is only NZD 242...

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So how much was spent setting up this little bit of nonsense. The worlds changing, those leeches who want to tax us out of a few small luxuries ...as long as the customs drones realise they are parasites & public servants whose job relies on the sweat and labour of others. Maybe I guess some staffer or consultant got a few dollars out of the millions the government borrows every week. If retailers get grumpy maybe they should drop their exhorbitant margins.

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I agree. When it is significantly cheaper to import a book individually (even if you added GST onto the price) than it is to buy it in a shop there is something seriously wrong with the market. Hopefully this forces the businesses to go broke so that more efficient ones can take their place.

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Just had a quick look at the "calculator"... one category of imported goods is eBooks. As eBooks are downloaded, not physically imported, how is this dutiable? Seems very odd to me, or is this the "just checking you are paying attention" odd-one-out?

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$11.2B in revenue in the 2011/12 year? Is that right?? If so that is a huge portion of total revenue. NZ total tax take is something like $60B.

Of course the vast majority of that duty will be paid by wholesale importers bringing in goods that kiwis buy (cars, food, appliances, clothes). Why should individuals looking to shortcut local retailers be exempt?

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