There are a lot of things to consider before you start exporting to Australia. It's essential to find out about local rules and regulations on tax and duty in your intended market.
The federal government of Australia legislates in areas such as trade and commerce, banking, foreign affairs, defence and taxation. Other areas of legislation are dealt with by individual states.
There are three major government agencies involved in the regulation of corporations in Australia:
- the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)
- the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)
- the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)
The Australian government’s business website contains information on planning, starting and growing your business.
Standards and technical regulations
Suppliers and manufacturers have an obligation to make sure products are safe. Products must meet relevant safety standards, have clear instructions for proper use and include warnings against possible misuse. If you don’t comply with mandatory standards, you risk action being taken against you under the Trade Practices Act.
The ACCC enforce mandatory product safety and information standards and bans on unsafe goods declared under the Trade Practices Act. Fair trading offices also have an important role in product safety within their own states.
Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of intellectual property protection available under common law. They are all governed by legislation. The common law also provides protection against a person passing off goods or services as those of another, as well as protection for confidential information or trade secrets.
Read more about protecting your intellectual property overseas.
Tax and customs considerations
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Goods and Services Tax is a 10% tax on the sale of most goods and services in Australia. Businesses registered for GST will usually include it in the price of sales to their customers.
The company tax rate for an Australian resident company is currently 30% of its taxable income. Taxable income is assessed on the basis of assessable business income less allowable business deductions.
Individual income tax
Different types of individual income can include:
- salary and wages
- partnership and trust distributions
- company dividends
If you decide to become a resident of Australia you will generally be liable to Australian income tax on income and capital gains derived throughout the world (although there are some exceptions). If you’re not a resident of Australia you will need to work out what your tax residency status is so that you can find out your individual income tax rate.
When selling internationally there are different VAT rules depending on whether you are buying or selling goods or services within or outside the EU. Use our VAT rules when selling internationally tool.
The Australian Customs Service regulates all goods imported into Australia. Customs duty and GST may apply to goods entering Australia. However, tax rates depend upon a number of factors, including the type of goods and the country of origin. All imported goods must be cleared with customs whether they are imported by air, sea or post.
All visitors must have a valid passport and visa. British citizens can get the following types of electronic visitors visa:
- eVisitor visa direct from the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection - no application charge or service fee
- Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) - no application charge but a service fee of A$20 applies
You can check if you’re a British citizen on GOV.UK. Anyone who wants to work in Australia needs a work visa.
Check with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection for up to date information on the types of visas available.