17 February 2017

Levelling the playing field for Aussie small businesses online

SENSIBLE changes to Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection online were introduced to the Parliament this week as the Turnbull-Joyce Government delivered another 2016-17 Budget measure to boost small business, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack says.

"The Government understands that small business is the job creator in our economy," Mr McCormack said.

"In successful Budgets since coming to office, the Coalition Government has delivered programmes to boost small business to take the pressure off owners and managers, to create opportunities for growth, and to lay the ground work for small businesses to increase wages and local job opportunities. 

"Under legislation introduced to Parliament this week, GST will be applied to low-value imported goods up to $1,000.

"The Government understands Australians are increasingly shopping online from overseas vendors who are able to offer items without tax. This means goods they provide can be cheaper than those offered by Australian businesses giving an unfair advantage to foreign businesses.

"For many Australian small businesses, this has an impact on competitiveness as consumers flock to purchase cheaper imports."

Mr McCormack said online GST retailing issues have been raised by small businesses across Australia.

"Australian small businesses have sought changes to level the playing field for some time.  This legislation is another vital shot-in-the arm for small business and will help Australian retailers to grow, expand and create more jobs for Australians," Mr McCormack said.

The legislation requires overseas vendors, electronic distribution platforms and goods forwarders – many of which are multinationals – with an Australian turnover of $75,000 or more to register for, collect and remit GST for low-value goods supplied to consumers in Australia.

"Australia is leading the way in taxing low-value imports. We will be the first country to apply GST to the importation of low-value goods using a vendor collection model," Mr McCormack said.

"With jurisdictions such as the European Union following our lead, this is just another way the Coalition Government is leading and delivering more for small business to help strengthen our economy and create local jobs."

The legislation will come into effect on 1 July 2017.