Queensland business caught out “misclassifying” imported solar mounting kits

A Queensland wholesale solar business has been stung for more than $1 million, after being caught out “falsely declaring” low-cost Chinese PV mounting kits imported into Australia.

The Australian Border Force on Thursday said the un-named company had been ordered to pay the money following an investigation by its Compliance Audits Unit focused on imports into Brisbane over a four-year period.

The investigation found aluminium rails (pictured) had been falsely declared as other aluminium products to avoid payment of Countervailing Duty, Dumping Duty and Customs Duty – taxes used to avoid the “dumping” of cheap overseas goods below market value.

In total the company was ordered to pay $1,098,336, including a shortfall of $186,618 in Customs Duty, $247,823 in Dumping Duty, $564,507 in Countervailing Duty and a further $99,387 in GST, the ABF said.

The ABF told One Step Off The Grid that it was the organisation’s policy not to name companies in these cases.

In a separate case, it said, a national solar energy company based in Victoria had been ordered to pay more than $280,000 for also trying to evade Dumping and Countervailing Duty.

The investigation focused on the misclassification of solar mounting kits imported into Australia from China between 2015 and 2018.

“Our Customs Compliance Operations officers work diligently to ensure importers comply with reporting and revenue collection requirements so there’s a level playing field for both industry and consumers,” said ABF acting commander Susan Drennan.

“Importers who don’t pay the correct amount of duty and GST are depriving the Australian economy and ultimately Australian taxpayers.”

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