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Protocol Guidelines

7.2 Purchasing a motor vehicle under privilege

It is important to check available concessions under the relevant ITCS package on the ATO website before committing to purchase a new vehicle.

As Australian motor vehicle manufacturers ceased production in 2017, tax concessions on new Australian manufactured vehicles are no longer available.

7.2.1. Application

A separate Application for the Purchase of a Motor Vehicle Under Privilege form should be completed for each vehicle to be purchased under privilege, signed by the Head of Mission or other authorised person and sent to

Protocol Branch
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
John McEwen Crescent
BARTON ACT 0221

7.2.2 New imported motor vehicle, purchased from a vehicle dealership out of an onshore bonded warehouse

Diplomatic missions, consular posts headed by a career consul and privileged individuals may purchase a new imported motor vehicle under bond from a motor vehicle dealer in Australia free of customs import duty and taxes.
GST and (if applicable) LCT will still be payable as sales taxes to the dealer. Depending on the ITCS package that applies, the mission, post or privileged individual may be able to claim a refund of GST and LCT.

7.2.3 New motor vehicle imported by a vehicle dealership directly from overseas

Diplomatic missions, consular posts headed by a career consul and privileged individuals may  import a new motor vehicle through a motor vehicle dealer in Australia free of customs import duty and taxes.

GST and (if applicable) LCT will still be payable as sales taxes to the dealer. Depending on the ITCS package that applies, the mission, post or privileged individual may be able to claim a refund of GST and LCT.

7.2.4 New imported motor vehicle, purchased from a vehicle dealership off the showroom floor

Where a new imported motor vehicle is purchased from an Australian motor vehicle dealer off the showroom floor, customs duty and taxes have already been paid by the dealer. There is no mechanism to have these sums refunded. However, depending on the ITCS package that applies, the mission, post or privileged individual may be able to claim a refund of sales GST and LCT.

7.2.5 Directly importing a motor vehicle, not through a vehicle dealership

Where the mission, post headed by a career consul, or privileged individual has purchased a motor vehicle overseas and obtained legal title before the vehicle’s arrival in Australia, and directly imports it without going through a motor dealer, customs duty, GST and LCT are not payable. Vehicles paid for after delivery in Australia do not qualify.

Note that missions, posts and privileged individuals need prior approval from the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Communications (telephone: 1800 815 272) to import a new or used motor vehicle. DFAT cannot override that department’s decisions.

The imported vehicle must comply with Australia's biosecurity regulations. Clearance is obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment after the vehicle has arrived at the port of entry.

7.2.6 Used motor vehicle

Where a used motor vehicle is purchased from a registered motor vehicle dealer in Australia, GST and, if applicable, LCT must be paid. For all ITCS packages, GST and LCT may be refundable on application to the ATO.

Privileged individuals who purchase used imported vehicles that are less than two years old from a registered motor vehicle dealer in Australia will only be eligible to claim refunds of GST and LCT if their ITCS package allows them to claim tax refunds on new imported vehicles.

Used motor vehicles purchased in Australia from private sellers are GST-exempt.

7.2.7 Motor vehicle purchased from a mission, post or privileged individual

Where a vehicle originally purchased under privilege by a mission, post or individual is subsequently sold to another mission, post or privileged individual with the same or greater ITCS entitlements as the seller, customs duty, GST and LCT are not payable at that time. The new owner may dispose of the vehicle free of residual customs duty, GST and LCT three years after the vehicle’s date of entry to Australia or delivery to the original owner.

7.2.8 Purchasing a motorcycle under privilege

Motorcycles may be imported into Australia free of customs duty. Privileged individuals whose ITCS package allows them to claim tax refunds on new imported motor vehicles may seek a refund of GST paid on the purchase of a new imported motorcycle in Australia, subject to the applicable limits on the number of vehicles being met.

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