Australia makes a move on adding GST to low-value imports

  • News
  • July 23, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Australia makes a move on adding GST to low-value imports

New Zealand Revenue Minister Todd McClay has signalled he has been studying other countries’ GST laws with interest, so Australia making a move may have an effect on his decision making.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Australian state treasurers will be asked to consider the proposal at their next meeting on 21 August.

Many of the treasurers are expected to vote in favour of it.

There is already a GST tax on digital imports, but Federal Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is keen to extend the ruling to include physical goods.

This would be welcome news for Australian retailers, as the Australian National Retail Association and the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association have been lobbying to get the GST-free threshold decreased.

The Sydney Morning Herald also reported that Treasurer Joe Hockey, who previously gunned for the digital imports tax, hinted at big changes underway at a business summit.

He told the summit he’d found a way to ensure that goods from overseas didn’t get any advantage from the tax-free threshold.

"This is hugely important for small business," Hockey said.

"How do I say to a bookseller in Lane Cove that they have obligations to pay tax, but Amazon selling the same book from overseas doesn't? It's unsustainable.

"It's been hard to plug but it's got to come to an end."

This GST tax would align Australia with Canada, which has a GST threshold of C$20, Britain, which has a £15 tax and the United States, which has no tax threshold at all and subjects all parcels to a tax.

This leaves New Zealand out in the dark with its $400 tax threshold.

There has been immense pressure on the Government from organisations like Retail NZ and Booksellers NZ to tax overseas goods under this threshold, but progress seems to be slow moving.

Retail NZ slammed the Government’s 2015 Budget in May for its failure to act on GST on low-value imports.

General manager public affairs Greg Harford said this issue could’ve been resolved “reasonably simply” in the budget, but was instead ignored.

Meanwhile, the latest data from Nielsen shows that New Zealanders are buying 18.2 million items online each year, to the value of $4.6 billion.

This figure is expected to rise to $4.8 billion by the end of this year.

Prime Minister John Key has previously said adding GST is inevitable, but just how soon it will happen is the question on everyone’s minds.

Many believe if our neighbours across the ditch lower their GST threshold, New Zealand will follow in its footsteps.

New Zealand Revenue Minister Todd McClay told Stuff earlier this year that hasn’t ruled out a single trans-Tasman tax registration process.

However, he said it might raise some issues.

“Earlier in the year I did have conversations with my counterpart in Australia and we did agree that where there were opportunities to cooperate we would investigate those," McClay said.

A discussion paper by IRD is in the works around the current online GST regime in New Zealand.

This is expected to be available for public consultation by the end of the year.

For now, retailers here will continue to watch Australia’s movements with bated breath.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Mergers: Making it work

  • News
  • August 17, 2019
  • Jai Breitnauer
Mergers: Making it work

We took an in-depth look at recent retail mergers. Jai Breitnauer compiled all the advice from the feature into this handy guide on how to get one right.

Read more

Mergers: What about the staff?

  • News
  • August 16, 2019
  • Jai Breitnauer
Mergers: What about the staff?

As part of a recent look at retail mergers, Jai Breitnauer considers their effect on staff.

Read more

Walk Ethical: The new way to commit to providing a better workplace

  • Sponsored content
  • August 15, 2019
  • Sponsored content
Walk Ethical: The new way to commit to providing a better workplace

Colmar Brunton recently reported that over 90 percent of Kiwi consumers would stop buying goods and services from businesses found to be unethical. Walk Ethical is the new accreditation available for business to show they’re dedicated to ethical standards in the workplace.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Are you on The Retail Hotlist 2019?

Join us in celebrating the vitality and innovation of New Zealand’s retail sector by voting for The Retail Hotlist. The NZ Retail team and Gem, ...


A Kiwi working abroad at Amazon and Microsoft talks Amazon Go

  • Technology
  • August 15, 2019
  • Idealog
A Kiwi working abroad at Amazon and Microsoft talks Amazon Go

Businesses across the board are now laser focused on how to create the best possible customer experience, but how do companies big and small ensure they’re placing people first? At the CX Conference 2019, Microsoft global industry marketing director of retail and consumer goods Catherine Brands shared her unique New Zealand insights from working at Amazon and Microsoft, including what it was like to be one of the founding team members to launch Amazon Go.

Read more

Inside Allbirds' first New Zealand store

  • Design
  • August 15, 2019
  • Lara Wyatt
Inside Allbirds' first New Zealand store

Founded by New Zealander Tim Brown, sustainable sneaker company Allbirds went ahead and conquered the US market before opening on home territory. The first Kiwi Allbirds store launched in Auckland's Britomart today. The Register's sister publication Good was there to check it out.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit