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Offences and penalties

Offences and penalties applying to the importation of tobacco products.


Customs has the option of issuing an infringement notice ($400) for minor offending or prosecuting more serious offending.

  • For importing prohibited goods, the maximum penalty on conviction is a fine not exceeding $5,000 for an individual and a fine not exceeding $25,000 for a body corporate.
  • This offence is also prescribed as an infringement offence in the Customs and Excise Act 2018.

For knowingly importing prohibited goods the maximum penalties on conviction are:

  • imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months; or a fine not exceeding the greater of $20,000 or an amount equal to 3 times the value of the goods to which the offence relates in the case of an individual;
    • a fine not exceeding the greater of $100,000 or an amount equal to 3 times the value of the goods to which the offence relates in the case of a body corporate.
    • Infringement notices cannot be issued for this offence.

Other offences under the Customs and Excise Act 2018

Depending on the circumstances, individual cases of tobacco smuggling may engage other existing offences and penalties under the Customs and Excise Act 2018 relating to such matters as falsification of import documentation and defrauding Crown revenue.

These offences can apply to tobacco products currently and are not impacted in any way by these new changes.