Australia: Proposal to impose GST on low-value imports

Australia: Proposal to impose GST on low-value imports

There is a proposal to align the tax treatment of the supply of goods with recent proposals for digital supplies. As such, the proposal would result in more compliance issues for non-residents supplying online, as well as domestic retailers with offshore distribution centres. The proposed measures would require overseas suppliers with an Australian turnover of AUS $75,000 to register and remit goods and services tax (GST) on supplies of imported goods below the current $1,000 low value threshold. This would apply from 1 July 2017—i.e., the expected effective date for the recently proposed changes to inbound digital supplies


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This taxing method is considered to be less costly than imposing GST at the time of import, and the revenue received is expected to outweigh enforcement costs. However, the increased compliance costs faced by overseas suppliers does not appear to have been taken into account, nor the potential difficulties with enforcement of non-resident compliance.

The challenge will be to “level the playing field” for suppliers, while also determining that Australian consumers only bear the cost of the GST (and not also the compliance costs).

The government’s goal is to align the GST treatment of low-value imports with the proposed change to GST on digital supplies.


Read an August 2015 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Australia: Bridging the Gap – Applying GST to Low Value Imports


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