Companies importing vessels from overseas have been put on notice by the Australian Border Force (ABF) after demands for payments of nearly A$2 million ($1.4 million) were issued for two undervalued commercial craft.
In the worst case, an investigation by ABF customs compliance officers discovered that a dredging vessel recently imported into Queensland was undervalued by more than A$15 million ($10.6 million). After investigation, the value of the vessel was amended to over A$65 million ($46 million) which resulted in a demand for additional Goods and Services Tax (GST) of over A$1.5 million ($1 million).
In a second case, ABF officers found that the broker for a tugboat imported to work in the Pilbara region of Western Australia had incorrectly reported the value of the vessel. Based on the vessel’s amended value of just over A$12 million ($8.6 million), the broker was required to pay an additional A$250,000 ($177,000) in GST.
In a third case, the broker of a dredger imported into the Northern Territory was required to pay an additional A$20,000 ($14,000) in Duty and GST for understating the amount of marine diesel fuel and lube oil she was carrying. Imported fuel products are subject to an equivalent customs duty in such a case.
ABF Acting Commander Steve Evans said: “Importers who don’t pay the correct amount of duty and GST are depriving the Australian economy and ultimately Australian taxpayers.”
Failure to comply can result in severe penalties, or the suspension or cancellation of licenses and potentially prosecution, he said.