Refunds and drawbacks

You may be eligible for a refund if you have paid either too much duty or too much goods and services tax (GST) on goods that you have brought into New Zealand.

Similarly, if you have paid the correct duty on imported or excisable goods, but later re-export those same goods, or use them in the manufacture of goods which are then exported, you can claim a 'drawback' – a refund of the duty paid. In some cases GST can also be claimed back.

If you buy something from overseas and pay duty or GST, then change your mind and send it back, you can't claim a refund on the duty or GST you were charged.

Find out more about when refunds and drawbacks are claimable, and how to apply.

This description was last updated on: Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Detailed information related to Refunds and drawbacks

Your can apply for a refund of duty and GST when:

  • duty is paid in error
  • a concession is later approved for the goods
  • the goods are of faulty manufacture
  • the goods were in a damaged or deteriorated condition prior to leaving Customs' control
  • the goods were destroyed, pillaged or lost prior to leaving Customs' control.

Contact your local Customs office to apply for a refund, and make sure you have evidence to support your application.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2011

You can apply for a refund of duty when: 

  • duty is paid in error
  • a concession is later approved for the goods
  • the goods are of faulty manufacture
  • the goods were in a damaged or deteriorated condition prior to leaving Customs' control
  • the goods were destroyed, pillaged or lost prior to leaving Customs' control.

To apply for a refund, complete an Application for refund of revenue (NZCS 223) form and send it, along with supporting documentation, to the Customs office where the goods were cleared. Refunds will not be issued where the amount of the refund is NZ$50 or less. 

The following rules apply for refunds:

  • If you use the broker deferred credit facility or have paid by cash, your refund will be made by cheque direct to you.
  • If you are paying cash, and your payment has not yet been received, we will adjust your entry to reflect the correct charges.
  • If you use the deferred payment scheme your account will be credited with the amount directly.

GST

If you are registered for GST purposes, you will not receive refunds of GST. The only exception is for those importers who are on the deferred payment scheme where your refund application for adjustment is processed prior to the due date of payment. In this instance, the GST adjustment can be made to your account. 

If you have applied for a GST refund and use a broker deferred credit facility, your broker will need to lodge an adjustment application with us. Applications need to be made within one calendar month from the date of entry clearance. For more information contact the National Credit Control Unit in Auckland, phone +64 9 927 8607. 

For more information on refunds of duty and GST contact the Trade Assurance section of your local Customs office.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 28 November 2013

A drawback is a refund of previously paid duty (and sometimes GST) when goods are exported. Exporters can claim drawback of paid duty for:

  • imported goods which are later exported
  • excisable goods which are exported
  • imported parts and materials used in, worked into, or attached to goods manufactured or produced in New Zealand and later exported
  • imported materials, except fuel or plant equipment, consumed in the manufacture or production of goods in New Zealand and later exported.

Import duty, excise duty and, in limited circumstances, goods and services tax (GST) may all be approved for drawback.

Commercial exporters can claim a minimum of NZ$50 drawback. There is no minimum amount for private exporters.

Anyone can legally claim drawback as long as they can provide all the required information and evidence.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2011

To apply for a drawback you will need to submit an Export entry (Form C5) clearance at least six working hours before the goods are loaded for export. Be aware that:

  • the entry type must be shown as drawback.
  • the import entry number on which duty was paid must be listed.
  • you may be required to produce the goods for examination.
  • invoices and other documents may be required to verify the claim.

If you export and regularly claim drawback, there may be provision to lodge periodic drawback entries with us. 

You may be able to lodge a 'late drawback' if the goods have already been exported.

For more information on drawbacks refer to Fact Sheet 1 or contact your local Customs office.​

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 15 March 2012

If you are not registered with Inland Revenue (IRD) for GST purposes you may apply for drawback of GST.

If you are registered for GST purposes, you cannot receive drawback of GST if the goods are of a kind used in your taxable activity. Any GST you pay to Customs on the importation of such goods will be able to be claimed back as an input credit when you make your GST return to the IRD.

If you wish to claim a GST drawback, the following conditions will apply:

  • The goods must be found to be faulty or supplied in error.
  • For faulty goods, drawback must be claimed within 12 months of the date of importation.
  • For goods supplied in error, drawback must be claimed within two months of the date of importation. There is provision for this period to be extended but it will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • The person who imports the goods must also be the person who exports them.

For more information on drawbacks refer to Fact Sheet 1 or contact your local Customs office.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 15 March 2012

If you have claimed drawback on goods you have exported, they will not normally be permitted back into New Zealand.

If such goods do get  re-imported after export, and drawback has been paid, you will be required to pay the usual duty and any other applicable Customs charges on their re-importation.

For more information on drawbacks refer to Fact Sheet 1 or contact your local Customs office.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 15 March 2012

On 25 May 1998, the New Zealand Government removed import duty on many types of motor cars and light commercial vehicles. Exporters shipping motor vehicles to a point outside New Zealand that had duty paid on them prior to 25 May 1998, must satisfy Customs that the vehicle being exported will not be subsequently imported within a 12-month period from the date of export.

For more information on drawbacks contact your local Customs office.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2011

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