Importing a yacht

Yachts are subject to a general rate of duty of 5 per cent based on the customs value (basically the price paid) and 10 per cent GST calculated on the customs value plus international transport and insurance plus the duty.

Privately imported yachts are generally valued using the transaction method of valuation when purchased overseas new or second-hand for export to Australia. Circumstances where we may use an alternative method of valuation include such situations as where:

  • the yacht was constructed by owner/labour;
  • the yacht has been extensively modified since purchase;
  • the purchaser and vendor are related parties and that relationship has influenced the purchase price; or
  • the original purchase price is too far removed in time.

In these instances the yacht will have to be valued by a marine surveyor in Australia. This valuation will be based on the market value and as such will include elements such as customs duty and GST. We'll have to deduct these elements plus overseas transport from the local valuation.

Where the yacht is sailed to Australia, overseas freight will be determined having regard to essential sailing costs incurred under the most commercially viable conditions. Such costs would include sailing expenditure necessarily incurred while the vessel is actually sailing (and entering and leaving) those ports of call on the most commercially viable route. It would not include any in port expenditure related to the vessel's period of stopover.

Where supported by sufficient/reliable information, essential sailing costs would also include:

  • cost of maps, charts pilot books, light/radio lists, etc.
  • crew's hire/wages or forage allowance in lieu
  • victualling or food costs (does not include tobacco and alcoholic beverages)
  • bunkering or oil/fuel costs.

This is an indicative rather than exhaustive list. If you are in doubt, you may enquire with the Department.

Super yachts

All super yachts visiting Australia are subject to customs arrival formalities:

- the circumstances of the visit will affect the liability for duties and GST as well as immigration visa requirements.

No duties or taxes are payable for those vessels intending to cruise Australian waters for private purposes over a short period.

If a super yacht arrives for commercial purposes (either hire, charter or sale), then payment of duties and GST is required in the same manner as for any other imported goods

- owners are also required to register as a business with the ATO and may apply for deferral of the GST payable on arrival.

Where repairs or refits are undertaken in Australia for super yachts, there are concessions available that may remove the requirement for payment of duties and GST

- as well, the Australian repair/refit industry may claim GST exemption for the goods and services provided.

Further information can be obtained from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection office at your intended port of arrival. See details under ports of entry.

See our Bringing super yachts into Australia factsheet for more detailed information.