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Importing a watch to New Zealand. GST issues.

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  • Importing a watch to New Zealand. GST issues.

    First, apologies for my ignorance and if this topic has been covered before.

    Essentially, if you buy a new watch in NZ, take it out of NZ and get the GST refunded, will you have to pay the GST back when you return with the watch to NZ, if the watch is for personal use?

    Also, if you buy a watch abroad for personal use, will you have to pay GST when you bring it into NZ?

    Many thanks.

  • #2
    No to both your points. If you buy the watch abroad and wear it, it becomes a personal item like any other jewellery or clothing. If however you tried to bring it in still packed in its box and clearly new and unworn you would be legally bound to declare its value, leaving you liable for gst should it attract more than $60 worth - generally $400+

    If you buy at an AD they send it to the airport and you collect it there. Last time my friend bought an Omega they gave her the box to take home and she picked up the watch at Auckland airport on the way to Aus. She was wearing it proudly when she came back 3 days later .
    If I think of something witty, I'll be sure to write it here.


    • #3
      Thank you for your excellent response, sjb.


      • #4
        Something to bear in mind is the wording of the tax declaration on return to NZ. Something like "are you bringing any goods purchased overseas greater than the duty free allowance" (and then the list of allowances - alcohol, tobacco etc.) The wording is particularly vague. However, I travel abroad a lot - especially to Aus where my wife has an office. We are always buying stuff duty free and bringing it back in with us. For example, Smith & Caughey have lots of goods on sale with a 15% Duty Free tag on them (for visitors). However, unlike the watch & jewellery ADs and Duty Free Stores (Partridges/Mansors/DFS I'm thinking here), they don't send the goods to be collected at the airport, they simply ask you to provide an outbound ticket proving you will leave NZ in the next 3 days and they knock off the GST.

        In Aus, you can take your purchases to the GST refund desk after clearing customs. Provided the goods are unopened/new/unworn with tags still attached, you get your refund. Multiple purchases must be on a single receipt though - no use taking ten bags from ten stores unless every purchase is over AUS$200 or so.

        In the case of a watch or jewellery, simply pop it on your wrist/finger/around your neck. Job done. Not new, worn personal item - who can tell? Customs would have to know you didn't have the item when you left NZ - they can't know, and in most cases can't prove this and so they don't even bother trying.

        Watches also don't attract import duty in NZ, so they've even less cause to scrutinise. Sometimes they don't even charge the GST. I bought two watches from Japan, in two separate transactions. First one was $219 inc. shipping, no GST was charged (I think correctly). Second one was $4010 inc. shipping and should have attracted $600 worth of GST but it just turned up at my office (the full and correct value was declared on the invoice).
        If I think of something witty, I'll be sure to write it here.


        • #5
          Customs used to have a service where you could record expensive items you were taking overseas . To avoid getting pinged on your return .
          ie: if you were traveling with multiple expensive watches , you could record them with customs prior to departure .
          On return you would show customs the document to prove the watches weren't brought overseas and you owned them here in NZ .
          Thus avoiding import tax arguments at the Arrivals dept .
          Not sure it is still offered and probably only worth pursuing if you are taking anything of high value out of the country with you .
          Rest easy Matty , My best Mate and Son