eBay: Aussie consumers may be forced to stop purchasing from overseas sellers

Due to proposed 10% GST on imported goods.

eBay has lodged a submission to the Australian Senate’s Inquiry into the Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low Value Goods) Bill 2017, which will see all online overseas shopping imported into Australia subject to the domestic Goods and Services Tax (GST). eBay believes the move is unprecedented and unworkable.

The submission from eBay reads: “As the Bill stands, Australian consumers would be asked to pay an extra 10% to foreign businesses with no guarantee the money will ever be remitted to an Australian tax authority. The measure would not raise significant revenue, would reduce the competitiveness of any Australian platform, and would reduce choice and price competition for Australian consumers.”

“The Bill has been hastily introduced and is unworkable. Indeed no other country is progressing down the path of an electronic distribution platform collection model. Australia is introducing a unilateral law that is currently not in place anywhere else in the world. This law will predominantly affect internationally operating online platforms.

Photo Credit: Tim Goode/PA Wire via ZUMA Press

“It is open to abuse by foreign companies, it exposes Australians to the risk of double taxation, it will reduce price competition and choice for all Australians who shop online, and it will drive online trade away from trusted, cooperating online marketplaces to the dark parts of Internet.”

The Bill potentially deems eBay to be a “seller” and an “electronic distribution platform”. eBay is neither. In fact, a report by Deloitte Access Economics in April 2017 found that: “for this proposed regulation to be effective, it must be appropriately targeted. For example, if platforms do not hold or process the goods or services, or process transactions, they may be unable to collect this GST on behalf of the government under their current business model. Such responsibilities may limit the business’ effectiveness”.

eBay is opposed to the Bill and is actively advocating for it to be withdrawn. The company has conducted a series of ongoing meetings and delegations to Canberra cautioning against the Bill being passed and will continue its comprehensive advocacy program.

eBay Australia and New Zealand managing director and vice president, Jooman Park, and eBay Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South East Asia director of government relations, Kristen Foster plan to appear as witnesses at the Senate hearings that are scheduled to be held in Melbourne on 21 April 2017.

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