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One Year Delay – But New GST Plan Gets Canberra OK

The Turnbull Government has agreed with proposals to have the launch of extension of the GST to low-value imported goods, including IT gadgets and software, delayed for a year.

A bill to introduce the new tax has this week been passed by Parliament, but the Labor Party was successful in having the launch date put off for a year to July 2018.

The aim is to give online retailers, including Amazon and eBay, more time to set up arrangements to collect the new tax, which is expected to raise around $30 million over its first four years.

Introduction of the tax had been urged by Australian retailers, who claimed they had been put at a marketplace disadvantage by having to impose GST on their sales, while overseas online marketers paid nothing.

But eBay warned that if the tax went through from the original date, the online auction house would block all purchases by Australians, because of the difficulty of setting up arrangements to collect the tax from sellers across many nations.

In a submission to a Senate inquiry, the company’s Down Under MD, Jooman Park, said the legislation was “complex, inconsistent, unworkable and will harm Australian consumers in many ways.”

Labor MPs consequently proposed an amendment that put off introduction of the tax until the Productivity Commission conducts a short inquiry on its implementation. That was accepted by the Government and the inquiry is expected to be completed before July next year, with introduction of the tax to follow shortly after.

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