Customs and excise update

Technical amendments to the Customs Act

The Customs Amendment Bill 2014, introduced into Parliament on 17 July 2014, proposes to make a number of technical amendments to the Customs Act 1901 to:

  • extend Customs controls to those places at which ships and aircraft arrive in Australia in accordance with s58 of the Act
  • provide greater flexibility in relation to the reporting of the arrival of ships and aircraft in Australia and reporting of stores and prohibited goods on such ships and aircraft
  • improve the application processes for several permissions under the Act - these amendments will also support initiatives to enable online applications for these permissions
  • extend Customs powers of examination to the baggage of domestic passengers on international flights and voyages, and to domestic cargo that is carried on an international flight or voyage, and 
  • enhance the interaction of the infringement notice scheme with the claims process under the Act in relation to prohibited imports.

The provisions generally apply on or after the commencement of the Act, being the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

Repeal of the carbon tax: fuel tax implications

The Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014 and related legislation give effect to the Government's commitment to repeal the carbon tax. As part of these measures, the Customs Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014 and the Excise Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Act 2014 remove the equivalent carbon price imposed through the fuel tax credit system and via excise and excise equivalent customs duties. Specifically, with effect from 1 July 2014:

  • fuel tax credits (FTCs) for certain uses of taxable fuel (mainly most off-road activities) will not be subject to a reduction of the equivalent carbon price
  • rates of duty on aviation fuel are reduced to exclude the equivalent carbon price
  • no FTCs are available for aviation fuel, and
  • FTCs for non-transport gaseous fuel used in specified agriculture, forestry and fisheries activities are removed.