TWO Sydney-based beverage importers have been slapped with more than $1.25m in penalties and recovered duty and GST after the Australian Border Force conducted an investigation into the undervaluation of imported plum wines and other fortified beverages.
The investigation by the ABF’s Compliance Audits Unit began in June this year after imports of beverages fortified with soju liquor came to the attention of ABF officers. The ABF targeted 23 imports over a four-year period.
It was found that the company had classified the goods as fermented beverages, which are duty free, but should have declared them under a different classification that is subject to customs duty.
The company was ordered to pay the outstanding duty and GST totalling $721,311, and fined more than $19,000.
Further investigations uncovered a second company involved in a similar practice. This company was ordered to pay outstanding duty and GST totalling $505,069 and fined almost $11,000.
ABF Acting Assistant Commissioner for Port Operations Command Claire Rees said the penalties were a timely reminder for businesses to ensure they are correctly classifying their imports.
“As Australia’s customs service, the ABF plays a leading role in trade enforcement to ensure the correct amount of duty and GST are paid on imported goods,” she said.
“Had these two cases not been identified, the Australian economy and ultimately Australian taxpayers would have missed out on more than a million dollars in revenue. ABF officers work diligently to ensure importers comply with reporting and revenue collection requirements to ensure a level playing field for business.”