The Fair Imports Alliance said the long overdue release of the Custom’s Enhanced Compliance Campaign final report reiterated its concerns about the low value threshold and the practice of deliberately undervaluing imports to avoid taxes.

This comes after the Alliance had earlier criticised Customs for withholding the report ahead of deadline for submissions to the Productivity Commissions inquiry into the retail industry.

The report indicated that every package identified as having been undervalued the average revenue was $330 for imports by Air and Sea Cargo and $275 for international mail.

Fair Imports Alliance spokesperson Brad Kitschke said this indicated that is a problem with deliberate undervaluing to avoid the application of tax.

 “People know they can value a package under $1000 and avoid paying tax, and most of the time they don’t get caught. We know there are overseas websites that advertise they will deliberately undervalue packages which are over $1000 in value to avoid the application of taxes and duties. This practice is widespread and we have provided examples of these websites to Customs,” he said.

The Fair Imports Alliance criticised the Customs campaign saying there was a lack of industry consultation and involvement to properly address all issues.

“ It comes down to the fact that before this campaign started Customs should have talked to industry, asked industry where it  thought the problems were and where it thought there was widespread abuse,” Kitschke said.

“The report also fails to mention if any fines were issued for deliberate undervaluing of goods. The Fair Imports Alliance has attempted to obtain information from Customs about the number and value of fines issued owing to deliberate rorting of the threshold but Customs have advised they don’t have this information.”

Information obtained by the Fair Imports Alliance from the Customs and Border Protection service indicates that records are not kept of the value of parcels that enter Australia, meaning that it is unable to determine the total value of imports that arrive under the threshold and how much it would cost to alter the $1000 rate.