GST coming for your online cart

Australia's proposed changes to the taxation of low value imports

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Stock up on your Nike running shoes, your Kate Spade handbags and your Stephen King novels now as, come 1 July 2018, you may be paying an additional 10%.

As part of the 2016/17 Federal Budget, the Treasurer, The Honourable Scott Morrison, announced that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be extended to low value goods imported by consumers. The measure was touted as improving the "integrity" of Australia's GST system and to ensure that Australian based retailers "do not continue to be unfairly disadvantaged by the current GST exemption that applies to imports of low value goods".  The announcement followed the Government's 2015/16 Federal Budget measure of broadening the GST base to impose GST on acquisitions of intangible supplies and digital products such as music downloads, TV shows and movies, software and games where the recipient of the supply is an Australian-based consumer.

However, will the broadening of Australia's GST base really level out the playing field in the retail sector, or will it simply lead to increased complexity for non-resident online vendors while placing higher costs of living on Australian consumers with the end result being a minor tax grab for the Government?

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