21 June 2017
Media Release - #2017056, 2017

Delivering a fairer playing field for Australian businesses

Turnbull Government laws will level the playing field for Australian businesses by applying the GST to goods costing $1,000 or less supplied from offshore to Australian consumers from 1 July 2018, following passage of legislation in the Parliament today.

The Australian Government has delivered a win for Australian retailers, by removing the unfair advantage foreign businesses had with respect to GST. A level playing field will help Australian businesses grow and create more jobs and opportunities.

Using a vendor collection model, the law will require overseas suppliers and online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay with an Australian GST turnover of $75,000 or more to account for GST on sales of low value goods to consumers in Australia.

This start date strikes a balance between giving additional time for industry participants to make system changes to implement the measure, and not prolong the current uneven GST treatment faced by domestic retailers.

Removing a distortionary tax advantage to foreign businesses will restore integrity to Australia’s tax system to close down loopholes and prevent tax avoidance.

The legislation complements other tax integrity measures of the Turnbull Government to ensure foreign businesses pay the right amount of Australian tax, such as the Diverted Profits Tax and applying GST to digital goods and services purchased from offshore websites.

The GST collected from this measure will go to States and Territories to fund essential services. The States and Territories have been strong supporters of this measure, and unanimously approved the vendor collection model in this Bill.

A number of other countries are taking a similar approach and adopting a vendor collection model to collect GST from low value imported goods. Member states in the European Union use this model for sales within the European Union, Canada uses it for magazine subscriptions, and Switzerland’s vendor collection scheme will commence in 2018.

The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring that Australia’s taxes are working as intended and individuals and companies pay their fair share of tax.