Customs, import tax and duty payments

When sending your parcel to another country, it may have to pass through customs. There are no lengthy customs declarations to complete when using Sendle, just a few quick fields to fill out online.

All Sendle parcels are counted as ‘Delivery Duties Unpaid’ (or DDU), which means that the receiver has to pay for any potential duties or charges associated with the parcel.  

This article will cover the different delivery duties, charges and customs involved with your international parcel:


Customs authorities typically work very closely with their national postal authority, who will ultimately be responsible for delivering your Sendle parcel. The local customs offices for that particular country will always have their own payment processes in place, and the different options will vary by country.

When your parcel arrives at its destination, the customs agency will make a decision as to whether or not duties and taxes have to be paid. In order for them to do this, the sender of the parcel will have to provide information about what they are shipping on the label.

This includes:

  • The item description
  • The value of the content (or combined value if there are multiple items)
  • The country of manufacture

This all needs to be clearly displayed on the label. Don’t worry, we’ll make this easy for you to provide when making your booking. Here's an example:


If you are sending multiple items in one parcel, please add each individual item under ‘Parcel contents’ on the order form and choose the country of manufacture from the drop down for each one.

Currently, we can accept goods with a value up to $2,000 AUD only. We include Sendle Cover up to $300 for all international parcels, learn more herePlease consider purchasing external insurance for higher value parcels.

Entering HS codes

  1. Under Parcel Contents, take extra care to provide a complete and accurate Item description and HS code (Harmonized System code) for each item in your parcel. HS codes are now required, and adding them will help ensure a speedier clearance at customs. 
  2. Look up your HS code by typing in the category of your parcel contents in the HS code field (this will match up with our database), or you can use the Census Bureau site to look up HS codes, and find the right code for each product. 
  3. If the HS code is invalid (or if it’s something on our list of things you can’t Sendle, you’ll see a red error message.

For more detailed info on HS codes and why Sendle uses them, go to our article on HS codes and international shipping.

Delivery duties

Many Sendle parcels won’t require any import duties to be paid, because they’ll fall under the country’s low-value threshold (fun fact: the technical term for this is called ‘de minimus’).

For example, the low-value threshold in the U.S. is currently set at $800 USD (approximately $1000 AUD), but for Mexico it’s $100 USD (approximately $129 AUD). So, it depends on the destination country.

If duties do need to be paid, the local postal or customs authority for that country will most likely get in touch with the receiver of the parcel to organise it with them directly.

The receiver's payment options include:

  • Paying online before collecting the parcel
  • Paying in person when collecting the parcel
  • Paying upon the delivery of the parcel

New VAT rules for EU shippers

For anyone shipping to the EU from Australia, there are important new rules and changes to the EU VAT scheme which will roll out on 1 July 2021. 

You can learn about the key changes from our blog post, Shipping to the EU? New VAT rules are on the way

And as always, Sendle has made it super simple to comply with the new requirements. 

Entering your IOSS number

  1. From your Sendle dashboard, go to Sending and click Send a Parcel.
  2. Under Where are you sending to?, choose your destination country from the drop down menu.
  3. If you select an EU country you’ll see additional fields where you can add the extra information needed to comply with the latest VAT requirements.
  4. If you’re opting into IOSS, this is also where you’ll enter your IOSS Number number.

Talk to local customs authorities 

If you want to know more about which payment process may apply to the receiver (if there are any), please check with the international postal and customs authority directly. (Hint: If you have a very specific question then a quick search online, or a peek through the destination country’s government website is a great place to find what you need.) 

Sending a parcel overseas? You might need to read these:

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