Skip to content

Recording overseas purchases and import costs

Typically when importing, GST is levied at 10% of the landed cost of the goods and is payable to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), not your overseas supplier. You'll usually create one bill to record the overseas purchase and another bill to record the costs associated with the import.

When the goods are landed in Australia, the customs office will generally determine your GST liability and provide you with a detailed account of the amount payable.

How you need to account for overseas purchases will depend on your business, GST reporting requirements, and the import costs which may apply. As such, the information below is of a generic nature. It's best to check with your accounting advisor to determine the best method for you.

Let's take a look at how you can record an overseas purchase, followed by two possible ways you can account for the associated import costs.

The example below is for recording the overseas purchase of a stock item using the Services and items field layout. For other types of purchases, use the Services field layout.

Are you in New Zealand? See Recording overseas purchases and import costs (New Zealand)

Recording the overseas purchase

The purchase for the imported goods can be entered like a regular bill (need a refresher?). In our example below, note the following:

  • The overseas Supplier has been selected as they are being paid for the imported goods.

  • The N-T (Not Reportable) tax code is used because in this example the GST is not payable to the overseas supplier.

Recording the import costs

Here are two examples of how to record the import costs.

Check with an expert

The info below contains examples only. Always check with your accounting advisor, or the experts on our community forum, about the GST implications for your business.