Friday, 27 March 2015

Importing my Japanese spots car...Step 3: Getting the car into Australia

As many readers would know I'm importing a sports car into Australia for a variety of reasons and I have been blogging about this along the way.  Part 1 of the series outlined the process of finding, inspecting and bidding for the car.  Part 2 involved all the steps involved in getting the car to the shipyard and all the nasty surprises in between.

This post will cover actually getting the car into Australia including the shipping, insurance, customs and tax requirements.  The paperwork and process is actually incredible.  I'm so happy that I paid the $1,100 to have an import broker doing all the work because the number of people involved blew me away.

Appointing an importer and compliance workshop

The first step to get my car into Australia was to appoint a compliance workshop (who also did the import approval process to get my Skyline into Australia).  I was required to put a down payment of $650 for the compliance work and then they swung into action.

Your compliance workshop is basically the place that will get your car legal for Australian road standards.  Different countries have different laws when it comes to car safety and the compliance workshop basically does everything to ensure that your car will be registered (as an added bonus they also give the car a service and change the oil etc so you don't need to worry about it).

Getting import approval...don't forget this step!

Before the car can actually enter
Australia you need to have prior customs approval to bring it in.  If you don't have it customs will impound your car and charge you an exorbitant rate and can even send the car back overseas.  This is something that your import broker and compliance workshop need to really be on top of.

Once import approval is received your car is good to get on a ship.  This whole process didn't take very long at all...but after this (actually getting the ship to Australia) took months and I basically had to stop thinking about my car or I would have driven myself dotty.

Appointing your customs broker...the guys who deal with the Australian paperwork

Once the car actually arrives into Australia you have a freight forwarder / customs broker do the paperwork to actually get the car into the country.  They pay all the applicable taxes and fees to get the car into the country and then send your car along to the customs broker.

Fees and taxes payable...the money keeps going out!

The number of fees in this process really really stung.  They included

  • Paying a 5% import tax
  • Paying 10% GST on the value of the car plus shipping plus and assumed insurance charge plus the import tax (yes you pay a tax on a tax)
On my car which I bought at auction for ~$7,000 I paid approximately $1,500 in fees and taxes to the government.  In addition I had to pay the customs brokers fee, the shipping fee and a load of other fees.

If you're having trouble keeping track of how much money I had paid out I can totally understand.  If I had not been recording every dollar I spent as I spent it I would have lost track a long time ago.  The single best decision I made in this whole process was appointing my import broker way back in November to help me buy the car...without him I could have never done this process.  That $1,100 I spent made my life 100x easier.

After going through this whole process my car was finally in Australia (2 months after I bought it)....however it still had to go through compliance, roadworthy and registration.  In my final post I will outline the last few steps in the whole import process and will also provide a breakdown of all the costs involved in buying a car and getting the keys in your hands.

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