Government Moving to Remove (or substantially lower) GST-Free Threshold

Looks like the days of Australians getting something close to a decent deal on goods are coming to an end. The government has just announced today (on Boxing Day, naturally) that they're going to look at removing the $1000 GST-free "loophole" to "help" local retailers to "compete" with online sales:

Basically it means we the consumers get screwed over (yet again) simply because retailers are unwilling to be competitive and stop gouging us upwards of 50% more than our foreign cousins in the US and UK.

The sticking point is that they don't yet have a way of collecting the GST without it costing more to collect than the revenue it would generate in the first place. So guess what. My bet is that it'll be US who have to pay for collecting it. In other words a $20 USD DVD would cost roughly $25 AUD at the current exchange rate + the cost of shipping + 10% on the total + the cost of collecting the GST (which could be anywhere from $5-30 or more). So suddenly that $20USD DVD ends up costing something like $40-50 AUD.


  • +58

    This government! Far out.

  • +3

    How will Customs even do this? Bloody hell.

    Suck s**t Kogan.

    • If I had a choice to choose between a millionaire with this problem or feeling good about it by making fun of them, I think I will choose to struggle with this problem and still have my millions :(

      • Me too. But Kogan (grey Importers) are at the core of this issue.

  • +1

    If there's going to be change, It'll just be like New Zealand's current system, all items are taxed except where the payable amount doesn't exceed ~$20 or something.

  • +2

    Australia with its $1000 import limit we actually had it pretty good. UK would be 20% VAT payable on imports exceeding £15. Obviously whichever government implementing it would be unpopular (as though the current one is not unpopular enough), but it wouldn't be unreasonable.

    • +30

      Yes, we have it pretty good with importing but we have it bloody awful with so much of the local pricing.

      • +3

        ^ This
        They have looked at this issue at least once before and possibly more times than that.
        They always concluded the the costs of compliance would outweigh the revenue produced.
        If, however, they are looking at it from a protecting local markets angle then the compliance costs may not be as important.

  • aaa DVD?

    • Huh?

  • +3

    Who is importing TVs via post? Now that's impressive.

    I think there needs to be more details about this, but it doesn't sound viable.

    Also, if i look at my [electronic] purchases for the year. very few objects are actually imported from overseas. Most are from drop shippers/warehouses on Australia soil (COTD, shoppingexpress, onlinecomputer etc)

    • +1

      I bought a 46" Toshiba TV from Amazon Germany in 2012. Partly because the price was attractive, partly because it was just cool to have a TV express mailed from the other side of the planet :-)

      • Yikes, was it $100 shipping? What's the story, was it free shipping?

        • +2

          I bought a pair of nice speakers for about $300 each with $120 shipping per speaker from USA.

          So it was about 300+300+120+120 all up. This was back in 2009/10 when shipping rates were cheap as peanuts.

          The speakers were selling in Australia for about $800 each then. I shit you not.

          Nowadays shipping is pretty expensive. Shipping the same thing today would probably cost 250-300 each.

        • +1

          Far out. Must have been nice speakers.

          We're the best country in the world I reckon, and I've travelled - just that this stupid Australia tax is the one major con. A trickery con and a negative type (pros and) con. Makes me mad and sad.

          It's exploitation pure and simple. No excuse for it.

        • +2

          There was a time when had 40 Euro flat rate shipping per order

        • I had an old Porsche and the Gas struts that held up the bonnet and hatch were out of gas. The cost for new ones was something insane, ie $250 each or something (and I needed 4), I didnt want to try and re-gas the struts as I read somewhere that the car had an aluminium bonnet and even the slightest difference in pressure in the struts could, over time warp the bonnet. I ended up buying brand new genuine Porsche parts off eBay US for about $40 each with $50 each postage. Postage was more than the parts but still way cheaper than buying locally!

  • The current situation on imported goods in Australia is pretty reasonable. Try buying branded electronics in China - it's cheaper here (usually)! Clothing is certainly cheaper here, too.

    • +5

      China has expensive pricing for branded goods so not a good example… try comparing with US or hong kong…

      • +1

        US has huge buying power, AU doesn't. Hong Kong relies on tourism, thus duty free shops. Better to compare AU to NZ

        • +1

          NZ has it bad too. Better to compare AU to where people are importing from such as US, HK, Europe

        • +4

          @tomkun01 Those are pretty specious arguments. The US has greater buying power than Australia so we shouldn't use them as a basis of comparison, but China is a relevant analogue?

          There should be minimal differences in pricing when buying software that can be downloaded from the internet, yet Australians pay significantly more (sometimes in the realm of 50 - 70% for an identical product). The simple truth of the matter is that Australians have been used to paying high prices across most products, so manufacturers and companies charge us more because they can get away with it. With athletic gear, in some instances Rebel Sports was buying from wholesalers at higher prices than what consumers would pay in the US.

          It has taken the strong AUD and the increasing penetration of online shopping in Australia for most of us to wake up to the rort.

  • +27

    My issue is the cost associated with imposing the GST on imported goods. For small purchases, the cost of raising the revenue can easily exceed the revenue raised.

    Sadly yet another example of this government's inability to produce rational policy.

    • +5

      "Sadly yet another example of this government's inability to produce rational policy."

      The Government is putting the GST on review and not announced any policy or specifics, I'd say it would be irrational to not ask the Government for a review. We do live in a democracy, yes?

      • Don't understand the negs. They're going to look at it.

        • +6

          Meh just some people who are probably just irrational Liberal haters. Can't reason with them.

          Ironically the debate for GST import review started in the Rudd gov days. The point being any party would be open to GST review, because it's the rational thing to do in our changing economy.

        • +6

          @plmko: Indeed. The last time we discussed this on OzBargain was back in 2012 and 2011 — certainly not under the current government.

        • +3

          @scotty: People have short attention spans. One govt policy/regime blends into another so that they become indistinguishable. When this idea was previously floated there was plenty of vitriol against the idea on both sides of the ideological/political spectrum. For me, it's not so much price of the product but quality, availability and choice.

          Australians have been buying OS for years now. Has retail in Aus changed though? It seems impervious and resilient.

        • +6

          @Supe: Well I remember that AAA video game titles were $110 new a few years ago, and the masses flocked to sites like ozgameshop and play Asia. Now they're normally $60-70, so I think there has been some response by retailers here. They probably pressured the suppliers/publishers who were taking the piss with their pricing.
          Bad luck for Ozgameshop though.

        • +9


          since when do liberals take any notice of studies?

          NBN review lol…

          disgusting behaviour breeds mistrust

        • @thirtysixd:

          Depends on your point of view, some would say the NBN review also said the fastest way to realise faster internet realistically for Australia's geographical vastness is a mixed system. And the Libs responded to that (albeit spun in their favour).

          Digressing, my point is why are people so upset, the talk of GST reform has been a long one and this isn't the first time. No policy has been suggested at, and nothing has been done except including it into the review.

        • +8


          I think you missed the point:P

          In review > Handpicked Panel > Done

          Important findings and expert opinions ignored due to our sad political system

        • @plmko: Personal i hate Gov i pay way to much for very little services. i only see them as line there own pocket with our money. that all Gov.

        • +1

          @thirtysixd: Exactly. As Sir Humphrey said: "A basic rule of government is never look into anything you don't have to, and never set up an inquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be."

          The government knows in advance what the outcome of this "review" will be, and it intends for that to be the outcome. This isn't about poking around in a highly speculative manner or "looking at" the idea in a totally objective manner.

        • +1


          I remember the beginning of that, the dollar dropped to as low as 50c, games went upto double $120-$150…

          As the dollar rose, the prices barely came down, people were still buying the games, so EB Game stores exploded, they were popping up everywhere… as that happened people started getting the 'ballz' to buy online… now how often do you see those stores

  • +23

    It will never happen. There aren't jobs being lost despite what the likes of Solomon Lew and other retail moguls might be saying. They're just worried about losing a small number of sales to people other than themselves. If Myer, Just Jeans and Harvey Norman etc think shoppers are suddenly going to go back to pay high prices then they're sadly mistaken.

    • +17

      Gerry will keep on whingeing nonetheless.

  • +33

    thing is even with GST added the items are STILL cheaper than they are locally… they dont even realise that they are so dumb

    • +12

      My thoughts exactly! Some beauty products are DOUBLE the price at Australian retailers. What I fail to understand is why we pay so much. I can ship a single item, pay the GST (if they insist) and will still be significantly cheaper. Surely shipping a container load is cheaper than a single item.

      • +5

        Cosmetics are generally labour intensive on the sales side - go to Myer and DJs and see how many girls there are on the shop floor. They need the labour to pamper the customers to encourage them to buy. That is why you can get major discounts at discount retailers like Chemist Warehouse on their fragrances, etc.

        In Aus, when you have to deal with labour, unfortunately you have to deal with the high labour costs (and don't let anyone convince you that Aus labour costs are not high). That's the price of living in Australia.

        A better way to compare prices between different countries is on a purchasing power basis - e.g. how many hours at minimum wage does it take to buy X item. Simple FX translated dollar translation does not take into account different business and cost environments. So yes you can buy something cheaper by importing from the US, whilst at the same time being completely uneconomical for it to be offered for the same price here due to different input costs.

        • +1

          You are spot on with identifying the problem, unfortunately the chain stores haven’t realized that most customers look for value rather than service especially on repeat purchases when you know exactly what you want.

    • +2

      Doesn't matter, the whole point is for them to have some other way to tax us. It's a win win for the government (until the next election) but it's not so good for consumers and businesses.

    • They are not dumb. They just think their customers are too dumb to see this. All they are doing is to stir shxt in the system

  • +1

    good luck
    if they set the amount too low it cost more to collect than what they actually collect

    • +11

      … And taxpayers will pay that additional cost. So we'll be screwed twice.

  • +6

    So basically, accept that you have to pay x2 or x3 for everything and shut up.

    • How do you figure that?

  • +48

    Dont blame me i voted labor…

  • +35

    The current government is an absolute disaster that is looking to mess as much up as they can on their way down. Most of the people around me who voted for them are all now pretending they didn't, lol.

  • +1

    way too funny and to do it on boxing day, pretty sure it's more about saving face with the retailers than collecting revenue

  • +3

    Meh … it's just another White Paper (by the Productivity Commission)looking into the feasibility of lowering the threshold provided it is feasible to do so! I don't see what has changed between now and the last time the (2011) the Productivity Commission looked into this. The only difference this time around seems to be that they are looking at it from a jobs perspective - ie . loss of jobs.

    • +6

      What's changed? Insert photo of Abbott's mug here

      Australia is open for business!

  • +9

    I think it's more likely to be cut to around $500 rather than abolishing it all together. Stupid Australian retailers crying foul even though 85% of all online orders come from Aussie retailers

    • +2

      Yeah, was in Harvey Norman a couple days ago and they were selling Samsung products only available in the South Korean Market, so they must have imported it directly. (Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Keyboard Case, for those interested)

  • +3

    This is an interesting story about how the UK system works on collecting VAT for small value posted goods. I imagine our government would be looking at the UK as a possible model.

    Of course the "Processing Fee" for a human to look at a single mail item, type in the details and pursue collection of a few dollars worth of GST would totally eclipse the actual amount of GST collected. A potential boon for Australia Post, but no doubt one their staff will hate, as they become subject to the abuse of the public.

  • +7

    Australian Customs regulations changed in June 2014. Australian Customs now wants the name and contact details of the seller or vendor on the invoice, together with the price, to make it easier for them to confirm the selling price of the item. Courier companies and purchasers have been jumping through hoops since June, if the invoice supplied with the goods did not meet those requirements. Customs are ready right now to implement a GST on imports under $1000.00. I have mentioned this in other Ozbargain forums. There is no point in wasting words on how it might be done. The plan was fine-tuned earlier this year. As soon as it becomes official, it will happen. Remember this when you vote at the next election.

  • +13

    As usual, the federal government (Labor or Coalition, doesn't matter) acts well after the horse has bolted.

    The Australian dollar is no longer above parity and probably won't return there this decade. Overseas shopping with an Australian dollar valued at US$1.08 was fun, but now the bargains are much more limited. Slapping another 10% on is just going to kill off whatever overseas online shopping is left. The revenue raised from this measure is likely to be feeble compared to the cost of enforcement.

    • +1

      Alot can happen before the end of this decade. It would only take 1 major war involving the US or another financial collapse that could trigger the currency market into a spin.

      • But as Deputy Sherrif we'll be right in there.

        One thing that is historically brilliant for depressed economies is war. All that defense contract money just props the economy up for a while and takes depressed consumer's minds off the bad economy etc.

        • Except wars don't happen on a World War scale anymore, with the advent of nuclear warfare it has become something that is very unlikely to happen. Along with the fact that it is cheaper to buy the things from other countries than it is to declare war and take it by force. World Wars really won't happen unless it is going to be a ideology fight a bit like how WW2 was handled.

        • @Hazardousking: I think what he means by it is during the war, government spending increases, with all the defence force working and all, which boosts aggregate demands, even if it is a small scale war (think of Gulf War).

          Very Keyensian idea too :)

        • @Hazardousking: It's virtual.

          Hackers don't work for free. I mean cyber security desk jockeys. They earn big bucks.

          Nor do the immensely profitable defence contractors.

          The bombs still need to be dropped. Just from a drone. They cost heaps of money. Unless they're lasers which are a tenth of physical bombs. You still need to kill people.

          Certainly might be cheaper now but the budgets are still bigger and projects are found like air fills a space.

        • +1

          @AznMitch: Yep, funnily enough it was after WWII not the New Deal that ended the Depression. And Germany and Japan really benefited from the Marshall Plan and so did the US. The Bretton Woods plan certainly helped and was what really contributed to cementing the US as the sole superpower, taking over from the British Empire.

          So who knows, China might just take the mantle within 50years through cyber warfare. They're pretty good at it. And much better at denying it even though everyone knows they're lying through their teeth.

        • @adamren: I am not going to argue with you but I am going to say that Marshall Plan was to stop communism from spreading, wasn't it? War stricken poverty is a very fertile ground for communism to spread.

          Technically, Japan was benefitted more by the Korean war, since MacArthur really wanted to make Japan toothless, but your argument still holds. Same principle basically.

          Also, I'd say that war is technically not necessary, only threat of wars. I miss the times where I could've gawked at the new war technologies that US promised to deliver.
          :'( RAH-66 looked so cool.

          [email protected]#$ Donald Rumsfeld.

        • @AznMitch: Hehe. Oh well. A Donnie Rumsfeld only comes along every generation.

          Well MP helped restart Germany, they were pretty good at tools etc, must be a perfection personality. They had very good and massive industries, so the US had to reap the benefits of that. They were tooling up still.

          The Cold War and Berlin Wall was to fight against the commies more though I think. It was a bigger threat then.

  • +25

    In my profession and my personal interests, there are numerous items that are not sold in Australia and I have to import them. This revised tax scheme is going to make my hobby even more expensive without providing an alternative or make any sense.

    The Australian government isn't interested in levelling the playing field when it comes to retail/services (look at the price of petrol, the big duopoly, the telecom monopoly, government contracts that bypass bidding). Better question still, why are we protecting local retailers who do not protect (in fact, they grossly and repetitively exploit) local producers/manufacturers? Colies don't give a rats ass that they've ruined countless farming communities and banks are off-shoring at an alarming rate, among many other socio-economic rot that's going on. The retail chain was happily price gouging until the internet phenomenon "phenominated".

    So when the issue of increased tax to "protect" local businesses, the most accurate word I can describe my sentiments would be disgust.

    My 2 cent rant.

    • +1

      Totally agree with this sentiment. Most of my overseas non digital goods purchases are for items that you can't buy here. For the ones that I could have bought locally (2-3 items out of dozens) such as the Neato XV-21 robot vacuum which I'm sure OZBargainers are familiar with cost at least double the price if purchased locally.

    • What hobby is this? If possible maybe invest in a 3D printer perhaps? Start up the grassroots community for this hobby of locally made stuff.

      • The hobby is a collectible series, however, it is very niche (and often, camping the website for new releases is fairly futile too). It's something that commercial 3D printers (even the best) aren't able to do yet (ultra fine details).

        With regards to locally made stuff, if 3D printing is a viable option, I'd still have to buy the printing material, which the filaments (refills) cost over double over here. Again, the whole thing with import tax and also prohibitive business tax kicks in.

        • Prohibitive business tax? Australia has a good rate and it should stay at 30% because it's right.

          It's comparable to other nations in OECD and lowering it would just be silly. I have it when businesses make decisions solely on tax rates, it's cowardly.

          We have a high standard of living to maintain. We're a wealthy nation and we must act like one.

          Perhaps if science & education wasn't being defunded so harshly we'd have innovation here like good bio polymers made here. But that's another story.

        • +2

          @adamren: 30% is just the income tax. Outgoings for a commercial property is roughly 30% of the annual cost of rent. On top of that, depending on the business, you have to pay for registration and compulsory insurance. That is also a form of tax.

          We have a high standard of living to maintain, but it must not be compelled by a sense of entitlement. I am not going to name specific industries (to prevent things from heating up) but some major businesses have shut down recently because of unionised pay-rates. I have been to the local factories and the ones abroad. The guys working here wouldn't pass as an intern much less deserve to be paid almost quadruple what their foreign counterpart is paying.

          So before looking at the tax as a flat 30%, don't neglect to take into account employee entitlements, GST, council rates, superannuation, workers compensation, insurance, registration/licensing, and lastly and not least, Australian price gouging on machinery (yes, I've checked, I'm paying triple what a German friend is paying, and slightly under double what Canadians are paying).

        • -1

          @tshow: You get what you pay for.

          If you don't like it get out. Simple.

          You are getting something in return for the insurance. Go live on a libertarian prepper shelter commune if you don't want to contribute to the overall common good.

          Stop driving on roads and using hospitals and flying on planes if you don't like the taxes. And don't use the parks or call 000 when your kid poisons themselves. All that infrastructure and oversight costs money. Sure it can always be better, a user pays model is great especially with road tolls.

          Can always go live in a low tax country and see how you like it. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia aren't really nice choices. Good luck trying to afford it in a tax haven.

          A random street survey would have people guessing that tax revenues are half of Australia's GDP, but in reality it's half that. So what, Scandinavian countries have revenues near 45% of GDP and look what they get? It's world class.

          The real issue is governments running surpluses, that's the true theft, that's OVER-taxation. The rainy day hooey is just that, baloney. Governments, especially first world nations have near unlimited powers to fund budgets through their monopoly to tax their democratic citizens. Our deficit isn't that big an issue, the government hardly spends as much as it used to on a per capita basis and adjusting for inflation.

          Judging by the rhetoric of some, you'd think we're going to default. That's laughable when China and Japan are practically double or triple their GDP in debt. As long as the credit rating is good, their isn't much to worry about. If people are that concerned put more in savings and join the prepper doomsday club.

          It's the price we pay for living in a great country. Stop whinging about it and think of what you get for you annual 'rent' for your right to live here. We're lucky.

        • +3

          @adamren: I'm not whinging, neither am I going to try and white-knight the faults of our government. I'm simply pointing out that company tax isn't a black and white 30% that you were stating. You bring up good points when relating tax to our budget, but that's not directly relevant. We are talking about the price we pay for the goods we receive when compared to our peer nations. We're not comparing against Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, why bring that up?

          I know for a fact that Scandinavian countries have a higher tax rate but they have something to show for it. We're not world class and bringing up patriotism and waving an e-flag doesn't change the fact that our universities aren't very highly ranked, our telecommunications is…, our public transport system… I think anyone who is up to date gets the point.

          Sure, we are doing well in some areas, namely health and aged care but that's not a government achievement. Throw enough money into healthcare and you'll get similar results every time. Gone are the days when we produced people like Howard Florey (one of the few scientist involved with the introduction of penicillin).

          We live in a great country built by great minds and facilitated by the mineral rich land we live in but I would call it delusional if anyone believes that still holds true today. Take away our mining GDP and see how much of our so called greatness we can continue to fund. Great countries innovate and manufacture. Poor countries dig. It has been a while since we have our heads out the mine.

          TLDR - we're not that great. We don't innovate or manufacture because anyone who can innovate or manufacture would offshore because of prohibitive cost of business. Our achievements are funded by mines.

        • -2

          @tshow: Don't like taxes in Australia, give Middle East a go was my point.

          Scandinavia taxes 25% to 50% above Australia depending on how you measure, so of course they'd have more to show for it.

          Europe and Scandinavia have long term vision. The last long term vision Australia has was the Snowy Hydro. Better planning and investment will get the results.

          But we're immature as a society when it comes to proper debate on government and expenditure.

          We're doomed by Dutch disease if we don't hurry up and break out of this childish mentality.

          My point is Australia is great for where we are, still a relatively young (from white Anglo Saxon colonisation perspective) country. We've invented (just didn't profit/commercialise it well) many things. We have a great lifestyle. This isn't nationalism it's just fact. No bias in it. This is the insight from years of travel and foreigners telling us these things.

          So as for sounding whingey, pay your taxes suck it up or do something about it, otherwise give Asia or ME a go, you'll be back before you can say 'I want to pay taxes again!' Sometimes you don't realise how good you have it until you lose it. We get very complacent too and are quick to forget how good we have it. We have bigger issues than arguing about deficits and what the tax rate is or should be. Companies never want to pay more tax, that's silly, but they are always whinging about how it's so high but forgetting the high standards of living and the lower cost of doing business in a great modern democratic society. We're a pretty well educated country given our laid back lifestyle and attitudes.

          The corporate tax rate is 30% (can't believe I have to argue that and source it when it's such a basic common fact), some industries in net pay more, others less. Some get subsidised more than others. Some write things off more than others. Depreciation, amortisation and interest affect all that as well. Some can take advantage of tax breaks, so it all evens out. It's beside the point whether it's 30% or 40% or 25%, fact is they are getting what they pay for. Some get a better deal than others. The mining and farming industries getting diesel subsidies to the tune of $2bn comes to mind.

          Again, like a broken record: you get what you pay for. Run your business elsewhere if you don't want to pay this 'exorbitant' rate of 30%. Companies use roads et al too you know. Doubt I'll ever see companies properly fund training of all 18 year olds in university for 3 to 5 years. Let alone fund other infrastructure they and their staff will use from birth. The days of company towns are over, thank god. Would love to see a board of directors design, fund and build a community/society from scratch. It'll be a mess and behind schedule and many times over budget. Heck it'd be stuck in committees still figuring out the design after decades. Governments do a fairly good job of things usually given the circumstances. A private enterprise to build a Snowy Hydro would be crazy. Just look at the NBN roll out.

        • +3

          @adamren: Not trying to argue that the corporate tax is 30%, but still trying to broaden the perspective of what tax really is. Gillard tried to explain that the Carbon Levy isn't a tax and she got shot down for good reason. To anyone running a business (I can speak out of experience) corporate tax is 30% but that's not my bottom line. The bottom line is what matters, no ifs or buts about it.

          Trying to bring in the fact that some people write more things off than others is besides the point. The tax break is only for business expenses and hence anyone not writing off business expenses willingly paying more than they have to. That's just being silly.

          Using a high horse statement of "if you don't like it, go somewhere else" does not make for constructive criticism. Overall, I enjoy my life here. There are things I do not like, and I don't up and go every time I encounter something distasteful. That would be immature. Likewise, I do not just agree to everything the government is doing just because I live in the country.

          I'll leave it at this as I recognize a brick wall when I see/hit one.

  • Meh I wouldn't worry about it too much. Did anything happened to votes killing measures i.e. novated lease, negative gearing? Nope. Move on, nothing to see…yet.

  • +4

    I think it is time to punish the retailers who have been bleating loudly and publicly for the imposition of GST on small imports. Billionaire businessmen Harvey Nornam and Solomon Lew immmediately spring to mind.

  • This is funny. The current system doesn't even work. I've made several purchases over $1,000 with retailers such as eGlobal, DWI and Topbuy, never had to pay any GST.

    • +3

      Its because eGlobal and most chinese companies will willingly mark them as gifts and then undervalue the item so it hits under $1000.

      You will never see them write over $1000 on the customs declaration.

      This actually becomes a pretty big issue, if the item was lost and you try to claim insurance on the item.

      • +1

        I'd like to see a major brand/worldwide courier company lose a package with their express services. I wonder how rare that actually is? EGlobal use big brand companies. I purchased a $400 item from them 8 weeks ago and made the point about ensuring it was sent via 1 of 2 known courier company partners. But point taken, in the rarest of cases when its not shipped by express, or a known company and its whereabouts comes into question - yes, claiming insurance on loss when marked as gift is an issue

  • +10

    This government can suck my balls, they just don't give a (profanity) about working class individuals.

    The amount we pay in comparison to America it's ridiculous.

    • +4

      …..they just don't give a (profanity) about working class individuals. The amount we pay in comparison to America it's ridiculous.

      This would be the most ridiculous reasoning I have heard in a long time.

      Our govt doesnt care about working class, but comparing it to the USA where the working class is even worse off, ($4 per hour wages), hence prices there are lower, is inconceivable.

  • I don't think they should have got rid of it but lowering it to say $500, would have been a better option. I order most of my clothing overseas too, due to local retailers not stocking certain types or brands (mind you, I actually do pay more than I would here but I can't find them anywhere else) and it's not just me, many items can't be bought in Australia and can only be imported, ironically I have been buying all my games locally, the only time I usually import is if I can't get something in Oz. It's going to create an equally unfair competition now, because how can you compete with prices on different items that different retailers see? So if I want something specific that local stores don't have, to make things "fair" I have to buy something I don't want from a local store?
    I'm honestly contemplating doing a course in politics, given the stupid decisions they make; the courses sound like you can pass them with your eyes closed.

    • +2

      You mean lower it to 500 so you still dont have to pay for your clothes items …and it doesn't effect you?

      • -1

        Yes, I don't know that many people that import anything above 1k tbh and frankly I wouldn't import anything above a few hundred because returns would be a bitch and a half to work with, assuming it's a big product like a TV or console and not something small. At least if I buy something like a TV locally I can bring it back to a physical store. At this stage you can either have a compromise (compromise is something that seems to be a thing of the past in the 21st century though) where the limit is lowered and only effects people who want to risk ordering stuff above $500 or no limit that (profanity) everyone regardless of what they buy, I'd prefer the first option but the option to keep the limit at $1000 would be priority, 1 I'm pretty sure a lot of people would want.

        • +3

          it'd be great if they just left it alone all together. if local retailers don't want to compete that's their problem. but it really hurts my soul to think about forking out double for the same products here vs overseas online buying. for instance the laptop im using now was under 1k from the US went through no problems, cost around 1800 here no thank you.

        • @Soybeanus: It'd be even better if there was no tax in general but we have to accept it at a certain level, the $1k mark is fine, if they do add GST on lower cost items from overseas I'll just have to find a way around shipping it as a sale and instead as a gift. I know there's services where if they don't ship items internationally from within the US; you can get certain companies/people to receive a parcel on your behalf then they send it to you, I think PriceUSA does that, but I'm not sure if that would be exempted of GST, I'd imagine it would be since it's like they're sending you a gift. EDIT: Sorry, I meant to say they buy the item on your behalf and accept the parcel then send it to you.

    • What brands?

  • +1

    Hmmm, Funny thing is even if they got rid of it, you are only paying 10% extra…. It still makes alot of things worthwhile as on average you safe around 50% when buying online.

    Looks like the Abutt government is really wanting to be a 1 term wonder.

    • +7

      If it's anything like abroad, it ends up costing GST + 'handling fee' which you must pay before the goods are released to you, which feels like some form of extortion. In the UK I imported blu-rays, games, etc from the US until I got stung with these importation fees which literally cost as much if not more than the item I was buying. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they are thinking of implementing a similar system and that's the counter to the argument that this scheme would cost more money than it raises…

      This is just another layer of rent seeking behaviour added to our economy, and will result in less competition and higher prices.

    • 10% GST on imported goods ends up being 20-22% after all taxes and hidden fees need to be paid.

      1. 10% GST needs to be paid on the total invoice value which includes shipping costs.

      2. Duty tax of 5% on the item value + hidden handling fees. (Not sure if this will become part and parcel if they lower the threshold on a lower consumer scale, but if it's anything like importing over the $1000 threshold, then implementing all the above ends up adding 20-22% mark up on the original purchase price of the item.

      3. Factor in the Aussie dollar @ .81 against USD, it will take any advantage of purchasing overseas out of the question.

      • Good thing is, if you purchase from eBay most of the sellers there are still willing to undervalue the item. lol.

        • As a seller on eBay, I can tell the supplier to say the item is worth 1 cent and send me a proper invoice electronically. Will this by pass this bs? Man I'm paying friggen 6 figures in tax at the moment and they want more. It's conplete bs

        • +4


          man if you paying 6 figures in tax you must be doing OK so stop your complaining and keep doing the heavy lifting for the rest of us!

          (I think you need a more creative accountant like the big companies do!)

        • @spn: sniffs guys can you smell that? I smell bullcrap. what do you smell?