back to article Australia's States in online shopping tax grab

The idea that Australia's finances can be fixed by closing the online shopping “GST loophole” has shambled back out of its grave to consume the brains of the country's political masters. State treasurers have revived their calls for the federal government to stick its hands in the pockets of online shoppers. Currently, the …

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FAIL

Idiots!

Sure adding GST to online sales might even up the difference between online and bricks and mortar but adding 10% will make SFA difference when locally the product is 100% to 200% more expensive.

Why don't the idiots lobby the manufacturers to get rid of the Australia tax instead? Would make more of a difference.

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Re: Idiots!

Exactly.

These companies blame the GST when it's their own greed that causes people to shop elsewhere. They don't even have the bricks-and-mortar excuse, because Australian online retailers are just as big thieves as their bricks-and-mortar counterparts.

Example: I can buy a 16 MP digital camera with 24 x optical zoom for $260 from a Chinese drop-shipping site. The cheapest similar camera from an Australian online store is $430. That's a 165% markup. GST is 10%. If it was applied to me buying the camera from the drop-shipping site that would mean the camera costs me $260 + $26 = $286. Still a damn sight less than I'd be paying to an Australian retailer.

So even if the government bows to the retailers and makes us pay tax on online purchases it still isn't going to stop anyone from buying from overseas retailers.

Finally, these companies are the very same ones who were quite happy to outsource Australian jobs to cheap third-world labour. How dare they complain when we, the consumers, do exactly the same thing by outsourcing the purchasing of our products! Hypocrisy much?

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Re: Idiots!

It might not equalise the prices, but if all of my online orders from overseas retailers were held by customs until I paid the tax, that might be enough of an inconvenience to shop locally.

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Re: Idiots!

+1 on this - lets take ebay for example, Australian ebay is pretty poor for things that in the UK I took for granted, even little things, I needed to buy a DVI -> HDMI cable and looking on the Australia site there were 2 for around $25 or one for $8 + $2 postage from the UK with a delivery time similar to that of the Aussie one!

Saying lowering it would give you $X income might be off the bat numbers, but what about all the extra staff, all the extra processing, all the extra delays and eventually the fact that people will stop getting the stuff they need sent over and have to spend a fortune internally which will eventually screw up inflation as people bankrupt themselves with ridiculous prices here!

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Facepalm

Dreaming

Leaving aside the fact that it would raise bugger all extra tax, the idea, in the current political climate, that a Federal treasurer might increase taxes (and thereby suffer all of the political odium) for the benefit of the States is just laughable.

What are they taking?

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LNP fail - yet again

These LNP clowns have been in power for such a short time.

Already they have blundered from one disaster to another.

They make the worst Labor Government look competent.

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Anonymous Coward

Gerry Harvey Tax

If this gets up, call it the Gerry Harvey Tax.

I for one, have already stopped purchasing at Hardly Normals.

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Re: Gerry Harvey Tax

Oh, you HAVE to feel sorry for poor old Gerry. I mean, he's spent a lifetime shifting crap like Kriesler stereos and dodgy crosswired Chadwicks at enormous markup, under the protectionist system that made even Binatone a premium priced brand in Oz.

How's he going to support his new helicopter if these evil online shopping people force him to play on a level field?

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Re: Gerry Harvey Tax

Gerry actually thinks it will bring online prices inline with his 6000% markup.....

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Anonymous Coward

Ho hum

And here I am again about to import cast-iron plate for an art project into Wollongong (AKA Steel City, Australia) from China. Not because it is cheaper (it isn't -- even sans-GST) but because no local supplier wants to deal in the small (several hundred dollars worth) quantities I need. Especially at the expense of answering a few emails seeking advice on what grade of their cast would best suit my project.

This is typical of my experence with dealing with Australian suppliers over the past decades - too busy whining about how tough business is to have time to actually sell people something they want to buy.

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Re: Ho hum

you are so right. Even local hardware store owners are fuming as their suppliers stop making common items without warning. Store owners across state then can't order lots of common plastic pipe for instance. Small dealerships being told that 100 motor cycle tyres of the one brand and size is the minimum order. OK for main agent in capital city, but hopeless for the suburban/medium town local dealership.

The important note is that the GST was supposed to replace all these little, expensive, crap taxes, but as expected, most hung around. So no-one with a better memory than a gold fish (yes I watched Mythbusters, but go with the flow) believes any increase in GST will remove any other tax on ordinary citizens. Only the rich get tax cuts from any brand of government these days.

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Megaphone

Save us all money

Scrap State governments in Australia - that's the best way to save us all money... We are ridiculously over governed.

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Re: Save us all money

Agree wholeheartedly. As for...

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported on its radio news that state treasurers are offering to look at scrapping taxes such as stamp duty on new homes, if the federal government is willing to play ball.

That was the condition for them originally getting GST revenue as far as I'm aware, and offering to look at something is not offering anything at all - thieving little parasites should get their accounts in order. Despite having huge mineral wealth states like QLD are still $80bn in the hole.

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It's worse than that, he's dead Jim!

It's worse than that, I recently read some research in the UK showing that lowering the theshold price on VAT to cover lower cost items would increase the workload so much in customs that the surcharge on each and every parcel to cover the extra costs involved would be about 13 pounds. So they add 10% tax to your $200 item to make it $220 (ok it's not exact but it's close enough for the example) then charge you $25 for the pleasure of reaming you, so in fact adding closer to 25% of the cost of the item being imported.

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Well, that seems to have blown over...

Just saw this morning, that plans to lower the threshold have been shelved until at least 2015. (Computer Daily News 28/11/2013).

It seems the plan was to get the carrier to collect the GST, be it Australia Post or a courier company. How they would go about that is unclear.

It seems that in the scenarios presented at the Treasurers' meeting, there wouldn't be an increase in GST revenue for at least a couple of years, during which time it would actually cost the Federal Government (and consumers) money.

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State Revenue, Federal Cost

The State Treasurers might be onto something here. Assuming that all the GST flows to the states then any increase is a good increase in their eyes. If it costs more for Customs etc to collect it, well that's a Federal cost and doesn't appear in their budget. Even if the (Federal) costs exceed the (State) revenue, its a winner for them.

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