After my last article discussing the Retailers Associations’ suggestion to impose GST on all imports of goods, I need to share a funny story with you. Recently I travelled to Australia for business. While I was there, I finally managed to locate 2 new computer devices that I have been looking for having been unable to get them in New Zealand at all (and without a suggested ETA for when they will arrive). While they were hard to find in Australia, I did actually manage to find 2 Microsoft Surface Pro 512GB Tablet’s.
The funny part of the story is that when I returned to New Zealand I declared these goods as having a value over my allowed limit of NZ$700. The strange thing is that basically Customs didn’t know what to do. Firstly, I had noted this on my customs entry form so they did tick the box and then sent me off down a special lane, to be parked up with people that were being searched as suspected drug importers it was quite funny actually sitting on the set of Border Patrol.
The long and short of it was that it took them over 30 minutes to collect $700 in GST off me. They also allowed me my personal exemption of $700 when I made it clear that the goods were not for personal use. While they were trying to be nice, it was all a bit of a waste of time because as the goods are being used for business purposes, whatever GST I have paid to the Customs Department, I am able to get back.
The moral of this story is that if Customs does want to collect more GST from people returning to the country, they actually need to improve their systems.