Motor vehicle charges

If you are not entitled to concessionary entry of a motor vehicle, then you will need to pay Customs duty and other applicable charges. 

A motor vehicle includes a car, motor cycle, scooter, ambulance or motor home. 

For motor vehicles your duty is worked out on the valuation of the vehicle in New Zealand dollars which may include a depreciation allowance. Goods and services tax (GST) and other entry fees will also be collected.  

Find out more about working out your fees and charges when importing a motor vehicle. Go to Customs charges, duties and allowances

This description was last updated on: Thursday, 02 February 2012

Detailed information related to Motor vehicle charges

Unaccompanied goods are goods that do not travel with you, but are posted, shipped or freighted separately and are for your own personal use. This includes goods for your personal use that you may have bought on the internet or by mail order; as well as gifts, heirlooms, household effects, motor vehicles, boats or aircraft.

Your charges will be worked out using the following:

  • Customs value of the goods – in general, the purchase price will be used. Where you have personally owned and used the goods for 90 days or longer, depreciation can be applied. Where the purchase price is not available or is not an accurate reflection of the goods value, an alternative method of valuation may be applied.
  • Customs duty – this is determined from the tariff classification of the goods and the application of any concession that may apply.
  • Goods and services tax (GST) – calculated on the total of the Customs value of the goods plus the duty plus any freight and insurance charges.

Where the duty/GST liability is less than $60.00, these charges will not be collected except for alcohol and tobacco products.

The following fees and charges may still be collected:

This detail was last updated on Monday, 09 February 2015

If applicable, Customs charges imposed on your imported motor vehicle will be based on its Customs valuation. The Customs value of privately imported new or used motor vehicles is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Second Schedule of the Customs and Excise Act 1996.

Normal valuation

In normal circumstances, the Customs value is determined as the price paid or payable overseas for the vehicle (this includes registration fees and insurance costs paid to the retailer) by the importer, less:

  • any overseas duties or taxes included in the price paid, which have been rebated or refunded before the vehicle arrives in New Zealand (documentary evidence of this must be provided)
  • an allowance for depreciation if the vehicle has been personally owned and used overseas by the importer for not less than 90 days prior to the arrival of the vehicle in New Zealand.

Alternative valuation

If insufficient or unsatisfactory information has been supplied, we may determine a value employing an alternative method. For example, an alternative method of valuation may be used if:

  • the importer has purchased the vehicle overseas at an unrealistically low or token price
  • the vehicle was acquired by the importer as a gift or prize
  • the vehicle was constructed overseas by the importer
  • the value of the vehicle has been altered significantly after the date of purchase, for example when major restoration, modification or improvement has occurred
  • use of the depreciation allowance results in an unrealistically high Customs value.

To determine an alternative valuation:

  • the New Zealand market value of the vehicle, as imported, is established
  • a series of deductions are made for such things as overseas freight and insurance, duty (where applicable), goods and services tax (GST) and normal mark-ups, until a nominal value for duty can be determined
  • duty (if applicable) and GST are calculated on the nominal value.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012

​If you do not meet the criteria for concessionary entry then the following Customs duty rates apply:

Type of vehicle
Duty rate
Motor cycle
Free
Motor car
Free
Ambulance
10%​
Motor home/camper van
10%​
Motor vehicle for the transport of 10 or more persons
5%​
 

This detail was last updated on Friday, 15 April 2011

Motor car owned and used overseas by the importer for six months but less than nine months.

Description​ Amount
(a) Value for duty of vehicle (pounds sterling)  £8,500.00​
(b) Value for duty of vehicle (NZ$) – converted using Customs exchange rate eg, at 0.31​ NZ$27,419.00​
(c) Value for duty after 27.5% depreciation allowed ​ NZ$19,879.00​
(d) Duty = (c) at a rate of duty of 0%​ NZ$0.00​
(e) Freight, insurance, and shipping costs ​ NZ$4,500.00​
(f) GST value = (c) + (d) + (e)​ NZ$24,379.00​
(g) Goods and Services Tax (GST) = 15% of the total of (c) + (d) + (e) ​  NZ$3,656.85​
Payable​
Customs charges payable (d) + (g)​ NZ$3,656.85
(exceeds the de minimus)​
Import entry transaction fee (IETF)​ ​NZ$49.24
Total payable NZ$3,706.09
 
See also Customs duty rates on motor vehicles, Depreciation rates for motor vehicles, Valuation of privately imported motor vehicles, Concessionary entry for motor vehicles

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The following depreciation deductions can be made from the purchase cost of vehicles personally owned and personally used overseas by the importer for not less than 90 days before the vehicle was handed in for shipment to New Zealand or the date the owner departed for New Zealand, whichever is earlier.

Once qualified for a depreciation deduction the depreciation period is calculated from the time of delivery (the date possession is taken following purchase) until the date on which the ship or aircraft carrying the vehicle arrives in New Zealand territorial waters.

Period of ownership and use overseas 
Depreciation deduction
(%)
Less than 90 days 0​
3 months or more, but less than 4 months  13
4 months or more, but less than 6 months 20​
6 months or more, but less than 9 months 27.5
9 months or more, but less than 1 year 35​
1 year or more, but less than 2 years​ 50
2 years or more, but less than 3 years 60​
3 years or more, but less than 4 years  70​
4 years or more 75​
 

In normal circumstances, the maximum depreciation is 75 percent, but a special deduction (tropical depreciation) may be allowed in some instances where it can be demonstrated that high heat and humidity have accelerated the deterioration of a vehicle. The maximum tropical allowance to be given = 20% deduction.

For the purposes of applying depreciation only, length of ownership and use overseas by an importer is measured from the time of delivery (the date possession is taken following purchase) until the date the vehicle arrives in New Zealand. Note that this is not the same measure used to determine if the vehicle qualifies for concessionary entry.

This detail was last updated on Monday, 05 November 2012

​Goods and services tax (GST) of 15 percent is calculated on the sum of the following amounts:

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2015

An import entry transaction fee (IETF) of NZ$29.26 (GST inclusive) is payable on every import entry clearance and import declaration for goods.

Note: A Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity system entry levy of NZ$19.98 (GST inclusive) is payable on every entry on which an IETF is payable and is collected by Customs at the same time as the IETF.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 01 July 2015

This is a fee charged for security screening of imported goods carried out by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 01 July 2015

Because Customs value is required in New Zealand dollars, the invoiced amount will need to be converted into its New Zealand dollar equivalent. This can be done using the Customs exchange rate in force on the date the import entry clearance is lodged to us.

Customs exchange rates are set for two-week periods. Advance notice of each upcoming period is advertised in our Customs Release. If you wish, you can subscribe to receive these notices by email.

Note. Customs exchange rates may differ slightly from the currency rates published by overseas trading banks.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012

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