Refunds and drawbacks

A drawback is a refund of the tariff duty, excise duty, or GST due on items you’ve exported, or will be exporting.

Duty and GST drawbacks

You can claim a duty and/or GST drawback on:

  • items you’ve imported, and are now exporting
  • excisable items you’re exporting
  • imported parts and materials used in, worked into or attached to items that are made in New Zealand and then exported
  • imported materials – except fuel or plant equipment – used to make items in NZ that are then exported.

There are no minimum drawback amounts for private exporters. Commercial exporters must claim a minimum of NZ$50 drawback.

You can also get a drawback on your duty and/or GST in cases where:

  • the item you imported was faulty (you must apply for a drawback within a year of importing the item)
  • the item wasn’t what you ordered (you must apply for a drawback within 2 months of importing the item)
  • you’re exporting the items (not someone else).

You can’t claim GST back on any items you buy when visiting NZ.

Items you can’t claim drawbacks on

  • Any fuel and plant equipment you use to make items which you’re going to export
  • Waste material made by item(s) you imported to make other item(s) that you’re not exporting.

Who can claim a duty drawback?

Anyone who can prove they paid duties when they imported something.

If you’re a business who regularly imports items that you re-export (ie export again), talk with us about the best way to lodge your drawbacks.

You can’t claim GST drawbacks if you’re GST-registered and you’re using the items for work.

Applying for a drawback

Commercial importers

To apply electronically for a drawback, you or your broker must:

  • lodge the standard export entry
  • specify the type as “drawback”
  • include the item’s Customs import entry number
  • include how much duty you paid.

You must do this 6 or more hours before the item leaves NZ.

Private importers

If you’re a private importer (ie not importing commercially), we will need:

  • the tax invoice number or Customs import entry number
  • evidence that you exported the item(s).

To obtain a drawback of GST, you’ll also need to give us:

  • a statement that you aren’t GST-registered (an email is enough)
  • evidence that the goods were of faulty manufacture or wrongly supplied (you can use correspondence with the supplier for this).

You can use a broker to apply for a drawback. Otherwise, you can take the documents to your nearest Customs office.

Sometimes, we may need to inspect your goods.


You can re-import goods you’ve already exported and claimed drawback on.

Drawbacks on motor vehicles

If you’re exporting a motor vehicle on which you paid duty before 25 May 1998, you must prove to us that you won’t re-import the car within a year from when you export it. If you paid import duty on your motor vehicle before May 1998, you can’t re-import it less than 1 year after you export it.

Drawback payments

We pay drawbacks in 2 ways:

  • if you have a deferred payment account, we’ll credit the drawback amount against your account
  • otherwise, we’ll send you a cheque for the drawback amount.

For further information contact your nearest Customs Office.