Scroll Top

Easy Customs Clearance of your Road Vehicle

iStock 669200898 1

Need to arrange customs clearance of a road vehicle?

We have listed five necessary considerations that importers should make before sending a road vehicle to Australia. Failure to complete any one of these can prevent the import customs clearance of the shipment.  So whether your importing a classic car, a truck trailer or even an all terrain crane we recommend that you consult with Custom Brokers before you decide to purchase or even ship the road vehicle. 

1. Illegal Air Conditioning Equipment

The importation of CFC or HCFC refrigerant gas or air conditioning equipment to Australia is banned. If you’re importing a vehicle from before 1987 , there is a possibility it contains such a gas or equipment designed to use it. We recommend checking the compressor in the engine bay to see what type of gas it uses. If it contains CFC or HCFC gas/equipment you must have it professionally removed and the system retrofitted to run on a suitable synthetic greenhouse gas (HFC, PFC, SF6, NF3). If you don’t, then the vehicle will be considered a prohibited import and customs clearance will be denied.

If you have determined the road vehicle does contain CFC or HCFC refrigerant gas or air conditioning equipment, Custom Brokers can arrange the degassing and retrofitting of the system before shipment. We can provide these systems in most common export countries (including America, Belgium, UK, Hong Kong and Japan).

2. Asbestos laws

The importation of Asbestos containing products is banned in Australia. This means there is zero tolerance for any product containing asbestos in any concentration. In recent examinations made by customs determined that vehicles made last century had an increasing likelihood of containing asbestos. Asbestos is a good fire retardment and can be found typically in the composition of firewalls, brake pads, clutch linings, gaskets, etc. As a result, customs may request proof from the importer that the cargo being imported is free from asbestos.


We recommend the sampling and testing of target components at a NATA approved laboratory prior to shipment. If any components are found to contain asbestos, they must be replaced. Vehicles which are heavily contaminated with Asbestos will be denied customs clearance. Custom Brokers can arrange for a Asbestos test kit to be posted out to your choice of mechanic.

3. Quarantine laws

The importation of Quarantine Risk Materials (QRM) into Australia is heavily restricted. This means all soil, plant and animal products on your vehicle must be removed prior to shipment. For used road vehicles it is important to check under boot linings, in wheel arches, engine bays and radiators to ensure compliance. Whilst small amounts of QRM can be dealt with at an approval quarantine wash bay on arrival into any of the major ports.

If your used road vehicle is heavily contaminated it will not be allowed entry into Australia. If you are not confident in the cleanliness of the road vehicle Custom Brokers can assist with a range of overseas washing solutions (including solutions in the America, Belgium, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Japan).


4. Road Vehicle Import Rules

All road vehicles being imported into Australia must have a vehicle import approval. It does not matter if the vehicle is coming from Japan, America, UK, NZ or anywhere else. If you do not obtain a vehicle import approval for your exact road vehicle then a customs clearance cannot be completed.

A list of vehicle types that generally require a Vehicle Import Approval are:
  • Certain Scooters & Electric Bicycles
  • Motorbikes
  • Cars & 4x4's
  • Race and Rally Vehicles
  • Motorhomes
  • Camper Trailers, Caravans & 5th Wheelers
  • Horse Floats
  • Trucks of all kinds (including concrete pump, cherry pickers, travel towers, concrete mixers, towing & airport type)
  • Car, Plant, Boat Trailers, etc
  • Dolly, Flat Top, Skeleton, Sidetipper, Sideloader, Tipper Trailers, etc
  • City & All Terrain Cranes


shutterstock 1941974527 scaled

5. Australian Car Import Taxes


Customs Duty can be levied on all imported vehicles. The standard Customs Duty amount is 5% of the FOB value but there are some exemptions. The main Customs Duty exemption available is for certain vehicles over 30 years old if they are:

  • Petrol or Diesel Utility or Pickup Vehicles designed for the transport of goods primarily with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) not exceeding 3.5t
  • Passenger Motor Vehicle means motor cars and other motor vehicles (including station wagons) designed for the principal purpose of carriage of 2 or more persons (including the driver), other than:
    (a) ambulances;
    (b) hearses;
    (c) police vans;
    (d) amphibious vehicles; or
    (e) off-road vehicles.

We look to minimize customs duty on your imports through the use of Free Trade Agreements, Tariff Concession Orders and other Schedule 4 By Laws. You can check the applicable duty rate for your goods by requesting free consultation


General Sales Tax (GST) is a very common tax in Australia and applies to all imported cars. GST is calculated at a flat 10 percent of the landed price in Australia + Customs Duty and is paid at the time of importation. 


Australian Import Tax Luxury Car Tax LCT Ferrari 

Luxury Car Tax (LCT) is payable by the importer if the GST inclusive landed price of the car exceeds AUD 76950. This value excludes all local charges incurred within Australia such as customs clearance, port charges, and transport. LCT is taxed at the rate of 33% for each dollar exceeding the LCT indexed value.

For example a vehicle with a landed price of AUD 90000 will be taxed Luxury Car Tax based on (90000 minus 76950) multiplied by 0.33. LCT payable is AUD 4306.50.

Note for Fuel Efficient Vehicles the threshold of LCT is a little higher at AUD 89332. A fuel-efficient car has a fuel consumption that does not exceed seven litres per 100 kilometres as a combined rating under the vehicle standards in force under section 7 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

The values indicated above are correct as of 23/24 financial year and are indexed annually.

LCT does not apply to:

  • to a car exported as a GST-free export
  • to a car that is (or is intended to be) registered for use as an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance, firefighting vehicle, police vehicle, or search and rescue vehicle
  • to a motorhome or campervan, or a commercial vehicle designed mainly for carrying goods and not passengers
Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.