Australian states continue to debate the taxation of overseas online purchases

Published 28 November 2013, 11:30 AEST

The Australian Federal Government and the governments of various states and administrative regions continue to discuss whether to expand the scope of the goods and services tax on goods purchased from overseas websites, and hope to reach an agreement early next year. At present, Australians purchase goods online from overseas, and the price does not exceed A$1000 without tax. Australian retailers are working hard to lobby the government to lower the tax threshold to protect Australian business interests.

New figures show online shopping in Australia is growing at its slowest pace in three years. Australian states continue to debate the taxation of overseas online purchases (Credit: ABC)

The treasury ministers of the Australian states and administrative regions discussed with the Federal Treasury Minister Hodge in the capital Canberra whether to impose a goods and services tax on imported goods under 1000 Australian dollars. Some states support taxation, some states oppose it.

At present, Australian consumers do not have to pay goods and services tax on goods purchased from overseas for less than A$1000.

New South Wales State Treasurer Baide said that the bill to lower the threshold of goods and services tax on imported goods is nearing completion. The state governments and relevant business organizations have conducted full discussions, and it is expected that in March next year, the state governments and the federal government will jointly make a decision to lower the threshold.

The Australian Retail Industry Organization said that lowering the threshold can help Australian companies compete with overseas online merchants in price, and at the same time increase the government's annual revenue by 10 billion Australian dollars.

But the objection is that the additional costs involved in the levy of the goods and services tax will exceed the tax levy, making this policy more than worth the loss.

Queensland State Treasurer Nichols said Queensland will make a decision after more carefully reviewing the details of the bill. He said that the states have not reached a consensus on where the new tax threshold should be located.