Administrative penalties

​The administrative penalties system aims to encourage compliance and reduce errors and omissions on entries.

Customs relies on those making an entry to ensure that it is correct and complete, and the system is a key compliance tool to ensure data integrity and that all duty is declared for payment.

It is also designed to encourage reasonable care, self assessment and voluntary disclosure of errors.

More information on administrative penalties can be found on Fact Sheet 14B. For any enquiries, call Customs on 0800 428 786 (0800 4 CUSTOMS).

This description was last updated on: Friday, 23 August 2013

Detailed information related to Administrative penalties

​Legislative changes under the Customs and Excise Amendment Act 2012 took effect from 6 April 2012, extending the administrative penalties system.

  • The system has been extended to cover export entries as well as import entries.
  • The maximum penalty has increased from $10,000 to $50,000.
  • The fixed penalty for errors not affecting duty or GST has increased from $50 to $200.
  • There is no longer a fixed penalty for errors or omissions affecting GST only.
  • Where an error or omission has resulted in duty or GST not being paid or declared, the penalty will be $200 or 20% of the duty unpaid or undeclared, whichever is the greater.
  • Where an error or omission in respect of an amount of duty or GST payable is the result of gross carelessness or was made knowingly, higher percentage penalties will apply.
  • There is no longer an exemption from penalty for errors on entries covering goods with a value for duty of less than $1,000.
  • The provision for issuing a pre-penalty notice before issuing a penalty has been removed. 
  • Recipients of penalties can ask Customs to review the issue of the penalty. (They can still appeal to the Customs Appeal Authority.)

Note: Section 15 of the Customs Amendment Act 2012 repealed and replaced section 128 in the existing Customs and Excise Act 1996 by substituting new sections 128 to 128D; sections 16 and 17 amended sections 129 and 130 respectively in the principal Act about penalty payment obligations and circumstances when no penalty is payable.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 23 August 2013

If an entry contains an error or omission that causes a shortfall in duty or makes it materially incorrect, a penalty notice may be issued. This will be given in writing, and must be paid within 20 working days.

A review of the penalty notice can be requested within 20 working days from when it is issued. The written request should include detailed reasons why the penalty should be removed, and sent to:

Administrative Penalties Reviews, Legal Services, New Zealand Customs Service, PO Box 29, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 or  

A penalty decision can be appealed within 20 working days from when it is issued. The Notice of Appeal must be submitted using Form 14 and sent together with the filing fee of $410, to:

The Registrar, Customs Appeal Authority, Tribunals Unit, Ministry of Justice, Private Bag 32001, Panama Street, Wellington 6146.

The applicant is still required to pay the penalty even if they have requested a review or appeal. If the outcome is that the penalty should not have been imposed, this will be refunded, together with interest.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 15 March 2017

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