This is really conflicting for me, because I love it when massive overseas companies pay tax for money they’re making in Australia, but at the same time, I really, really love buying cheap shit off the internet.
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE is reporting that they’ve found a loophole in legislation that will be implemented in 2017 that will allow the Government to block websites that don’t pay GST on goods bought by Australians.
The laws were announced in 2015 but won’t take effect until July next year, and will affect any overseas business that turns over more than $75,000 a year in Australian business.
The laws are designed to appease Australian businesses who have been losing sales to overseas competitors who can offer goods under $1000 for cheaper because they don’t have to pay GST.
Apparently website blocking would be the last resort, with the Government likely using international law to force the companies to pay the tax, but they have the power to force telcos to block businesses who don’t comply.
CHOICE Head of Communications Tom Godfrey says it won’t be a great time for consumers:
“Consumers buy a range of specialty products from overseas-based online stores. These include niche cosmetics brands like Charlotte Tilbury or Glossier, and non-standard sized clothing brands like Long Tall Sally and Pink Clove.
“If the Federal Government is going to start blocking these websites, it will disadvantage local consumers while providing absolutely no economic benefit to Australia. These products are not available in Australian stores. If the websites that supply them are blocked, consumers will lose out.”
It’s much more likely businesses will tack on the GST for Australian shoppers but on the off chance they refuse to, don’t worry, we’ll always have VPNs.