9News: Government to start charging eBay GST for small imported goods

Government to start charging eBay GST for small imported goods

Peter Hitchner: A deadline is looming for online retail giants, including Amazon and eBay, to start collecting GST on small imported items.

Finance editor, Ross Greenwood, says it means the price of most clothes and sporting goods will jump by ten per cent within weeks.

Ross Greenwood: Get set for price hikes – that’s the message for anybody who buys goods worth less than a thousand dollars from overseas websites.

Shannon Walker: After many years, Australian retailers will finally be competing on a level playing field

Ross: from July 1, many big online retailers including The Iconic and ASOS will raise prices by ten per cent.

There’ll be no specific GST on the imported goods you buy, the companies will pay that but you will pay via the price rises.

It’ll be noted on your receipts.

Nick Xenophon: Of course we want to have a level playing field for Australian retailers, Australian jobs against these online giants but it’s got to be a workable and practical solution.

Ross: But others, including online auction house eBay, have different ideas.

One option is to stop Australians from buying goods from overseas websites altogether.

That’s because eBay, like China’s Alibaba, is not a direct retailer but an online platform that hosts thousands of smaller retailers local and overseas.

Making sure those small foreign retailers collect the GST and pay it to the tax office is difficult to police.

Shannon: I find it a bit, a bit odd really, that eBay a multi-billion dollar international company can’t afford to collect the GST, when in fact the local café over the road can afford to collect it.

Ross: The new rules are designed to put Australian retailers, that collect the GST, on a level playing field with foreign retailers but by cutting the limit from

a thousand dollars to zero, Australia’s going it alone.

Other countries have higher thresholds, because they’ve decided it’s either too expensive or too difficult to collect the tax.

Paul Greenberg: There’s millions of retail is out there in this vast cyber world we live, in this flattened borderless world, I’m afraid there will be gaming of the system – in my view – so I think you’re going to  find that not everyone is going to play ball.

Ross: Ross Greenwood; Nine News

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