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Online shopping

Before shopping online, be sure you think it through carefully and that you know all the possible pitfalls


Please be aware that we don't hold your item when it arrives in NZ. We can’t notify you when it arrives, and we can’t locate it for you. That is up to the company who transported the item for you.

The What’s My Duty? tool can help you estimate any charges before shopping online.

Online goods that cost less than $1000

If you buy goods online for less than $1000 you don't have to pay anything to us, as GST is collected when you purchase your goods. There's nothing else that you have to do for your goods to arrive.

However, we do charge Duty and GST for alcohol and tobacco products regardless of value.

Online goods that cost more than $1000

If you buy goods online from overseas for over $1000, we collect GST and/or Duty and you must apply for a Customs Number.

Step 1

Order goods online for over $1000, apply for a Customs Number (Client Code).

Step 2

The company that has transported your goods will contact you when your goods arrive in New Zealand.

Step 3

Email service.delivery@customs.govt.nz with the following:

  • Your name and address
  • Copy of your photo ID
  • Proof of purchase
  • Shipping document (Airway Bill/Bill of Lading)
  • Notice or letter from your transport company (courier company, NZ Post etc.) that your parcel has arrived in NZ.

Alternatively you can engage a Customs Broker to manage the process for you at your own cost.

Step 4

We will issue you an invoice based on the Customs Value, which is the cost of the item in New Zealand Dollars, as well as the cost of shipping and any insurance. This charge will be made up of:

  • 15% GST 
  • Duty if required, this depends on where your item is from and what it is
  • $55.71 Import Transaction Fee 

Step 5

Pay your bill

Step 6

Once you have paid, your transport company will receive automatic notification that your goods can be delivered to you.

False or incomplete declarations

You are responsible for the information on Customs declarations being correct.

All declarations need to show:

  • a description of the item
  • how much you paid for it
  • whether it’s a gift, a commercial item or a personal item.

Please be aware that some websites may offer to declare an incorrect value for your item on the Customs declaration, so you can avoid paying GST or duty.

If the sender gives incorrect information or doesn’t make a declaration, your item could be delayed and investigated. In some cases, we will seize your item, and you will have to pay extra charges.

You may also face criminal charges for knowingly making a false declaration.

Customs rates of exchange

If you buy an item in any currency that isn’t New Zealand dollars (NZD), it will be converted into NZD to get the Customs value.

We use our own rates of exchange, which are set every two weeks and published 11 days in advance. We’ll use the rate that is current when your item arrives.

Some items aren’t allowed in NZ

Examples of prohibited items include:

  • some dog breeds
  • dog-tracking collars
  • objectionable material
  • equipment for using cannabis or methamphetamine.

Other items need permission before you can bring them in. Examples of items that require a permit to import include:

  • tyres
  • weapons
  • diamonds
  • radioactive materials
  • plant and animal products, including food and accessories.

Take a look at the full list of prohibited and restricted imports.

Return your item

If you return an item that cost less than $1000, the company you purchased it from is responsible for issuing any refund.

If your item cost more than $1000 and you return an item to the supplier and they give you a free replacement, you don’t need to pay duty and GST on the replacement. You will need to provide proof it’s a replacement, such as emails agreeing to replacement or evidence you returned the original item (eg shipping documents).

You are eligible for a refund on GST or duties you paid on an item if:

  • you didn’t need to pay duty
  • your item is faulty
  • your item was damaged or deteriorated before it left Customs control
  • the item is not what you ordered
  • your item was destroyed, stolen or lost before it left Customs control.

You are not eligible for a refund of GST or Duties you paid on an item if you changed your mind.

To request a refund, contact us.