Feeds

GST on online purchases: still 'probably not'

States can't agree on anything

Security for virtualized datacentres

Online shoppers in Australia remain somewhat up in the air over the future of GST on their purchases.

There has been some confusion over whether the current position, in which GST is only collected on international purchases worth more than $AU1,000, would change, following discussions between state treasurers earlier this week.

ZDNet had reported that treasurer Joe Hockey was calling for state treasurers to move on the policy change, while at the same time, The Australian said that the plan had fallen through because premiers couldn't reach agreement in time.

The states' agreement is seen as necessary because the GST is legally a state tax, administered by the commonwealth.

Such a move would be controversial, since during the 2013 election campaign the then-opposition promised not to change the GST. Altering the import assessment policy would not, strictly speaking, represent a change to the GST: all purchases are strictly liable for GST now. The decision by customs not to try and assess low-value purchases is an administrative decision designed to contain the costs of collecting the tax.

Speaking to the ABC's AM program this morning (April 3), foreign minister Julie Bishop has stuck to the government's line that the GST isn't going to be altered, in spite of treasury boss Martin Parkinson saying a debate about the GST is necessary to keep Australia's budget in check.

“We're not changing the GST. Our promise at the last election was that there'd be no increase in the GST, and that remains our position,” Bishop told AM presenter Chris Uhlmann.

Whether that remains a long-term commitment not to change customs' administrative arrangements is probably another matter.

Interestingly, the renewed GST debate comes as the Commonwealth Bank announces that online shopping operations run by Australia's department stores are growing faster than their online-only competitors.

“Omni-channel” retailers – those with large bricks-and-mortar brands as well as an online presence – rose by 22 per cent in the last year, the bank says, based on analysis of its customers' credit card transactions. Pure-play online retail only grew by 13 per cent, the bank said.

As Choice's Tom Godfrey told the Sydney Morning Herald, the growth “highlights how local retailers have overplayed the threat from international competitors when it comes to their calls for the lowering of the GST low-value threshold.” ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.