Importing to Australia Using a Self Accessed Clearance

Importing to Australia Using a Self Accessed Clearance

Do you know that you can import goods, without paying duty or goods and services tax (GST), when you enter them in a Self Assessed Clearance entry? Currently, the only exceptions are alcohol or tobacco products. Here is a brief explanation of SAC and how you can use it to enjoy lower service fees when importing to Australia.

What is Self Assessed Clearance Declaration (SAC)?

This is a declaration required by Australian Customs to clear goods imported into the country, below or at $1000 AUD, either by sea or air. The AUD$1000 threshold value does not include the cost of transport and insurance. It is the value stated on the invoice or receipt of purchase.

It is, however, important to note that SAC declarations cannot be used for goods which arrive through post, for unaccompanied personal effects, or for carnets (i.e. temporary imports).

Understanding how SAC works is vital if you will be importing to Australia regularly. If you don’t make a valid SAC declaration before you clear your items, you won’t be allowed to collect them.

You should also note that multiple consignments that come from the same supplier to the same importer and arrive at the same time will be treated as the same consignment. In this the value of the goods will be combined and the A$1000 threshold may not be applicable.


How to Use SAC When Importing to Australia

SAC declarations can only be done electronically via the ICS – Integrated Cargo System. No printed document is used for this process. A SAC declaration must be done by a duly registered SAC communicator. SAC communicators are registered with the Australian Customs in their ICS and given a digital certificate. These communicators are usually professional cargo reporters, custom brokers, or freight logistics managers.

SAC declarations should be made before the plane or ship, conveying the goods, arrives in Australia. But it may also be done just after the goods arrive. It is vital to complete the clearance process early so that you can collect your goods before the expiration of the free storage period. After expiration, storage charges will be imposed on your goods.

To make a valid SAC declaration for your imported goods, you should lodge the information about your goods with a registered communicator. Most reliable communicators will receive the required information through phone, email or their websites. Then the declaration can be made within one or two hours. As soon as the clearance is confirmed, you should be able to pick up your goods.



The Self Assessed Clearance offers you an opportunity to ship low value items duty/GST free when you are importing to Australia. It is important to know how this clearance is declared so you can save money and receive your goods without any hitch.

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