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Recording overseas purchases and import costs

When importing goods from overseas, GST is levied at 15% of the landed cost of the goods and is payable to the customs agent, not your overseas supplier. The GST paid to customs needs to appear in Box 13 of the GST return, so you need to create one bill to record the overseas purchase and another bill to record the costs associated with the import.

The customs agent usually handles the costs associated with the import. Generally, the customs agent will arrange payment for, and collection of, the goods on arrival in New Zealand, and may pay your customs duty, freight, insurance and GST liability. You will need to reimburse the customs agent for these costs.

Here's our recommended method for recording overseas purchases. If this approach doesn't suit your business needs, check with an accounting advisor about your best course of action.