Gifts from NZ and International Duties/Taxes

New Zealand has a pretty enlightened regime when it comes to customs duty, there are very few categories of products that are subject to import tariffs (duties).  The threshold for the imposition of GST only kicks in when the value of the goods would have a GST component greater than $NZ60, less than this and the cost of collection is deemed to not be worth the extra revenue to the government.

This may change, according to the customs website "Customs, Inland Revenue, and Treasury are currently looking at whether it is feasible to collect GST from overseas online purchases. A discussion paper outlining a range of issues related to online shopping and options for collecting GST is being developed and will be available for public comment later this year.  The Government does not currently collect GST on lower value goods for practical reasons – the administrative costs would be higher than that GST collected. A 2011 review found it was not cost effective to collect GST on items under $400. But if improvements can be made to the way goods cross the border and GST is collected, then the threshold at which benefits of collection outweigh the costs may decrease."

All very well if you are importing goods into NZ or purchasing gifts for friends and family in New Zealand from overseas this Xmas but using a NZ based supplier.

Problems with duties can arise when people order items either for themselves or as gifts from NZ to be delivered to countries with murkier or more oppressive import regimes.  Nobody wants the gift recipient to be landed with the hassle and expense of paying for the privilege of receiving your gift at Xmas! NZ Post has a very expensive product that can be added on to their already pricey Express International Courier service called Delivery Duties and Taxes Paid (DDTP) that "gives you the option to have duties or taxes incurred for parcels charged back to your New Zealand Post Account – this can reduce delays and ensure you pay rather than the recipient." Useful but prohibitively expensive at this time.

NZ Customs Declaration Form
Nearly all gifts NZ Fine prints send outside of NZ use the green customs declaration form for parcels up to 2kg (each print weighs about a 100gms) and are marked as "gift".  No matter what a customer asks us to declare at checkout time we have to itemise the contents of the package at the correct value. It's the law!

However there are a couple of things we can do to help your parcel get through without attracting duty at the other end.

1. The sheer volume of Xmas mail to countries like the US and UK means that not every parcel is going to attract the attention of customs.   Non-commercial mail is often treated more leniently, so we can hand address the parcel AND use your name and address as the sender rather than "New Zealand Fine Prints" or "" if the value of your gift is over the threshold.

2. The other option is a gift voucher - these are sent via email or post and the recipient will be able to receive the full value of your gift without customs being involved.

In practice the rapid growth in online sales coupled with the impossibility of screening every package means that nearly all gifts sent by us are delivered without attracting duty at the other end. Australia has an uncommonly lenient regime which is a huge bonus for New Zealanders sending gifts to the one place that has more kiwis than any other country outside of NZ - if your gift is under $AU 1000 there is zero duty or GST going into Australia.

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