June 3, 2019 by golden gooseits
Report backs Golden Goose Sale review of GST online threshold
The Productivity Commission says there is a strong in-principle case for the Government to lower the threshold at which the GST is applied to goods bought from overseas websites.
The commission was asked to look at the performance of Australia's $53 billion retail industry in light of competition from overseas online retailers.
It found Australians are currently spending just over $4 billion on overseas-based websites.
Under current rules, overseas purchases of less than $1,000 are exempt from the GST, leading to some retailers calling for the threshold to be lowered.
The commission has called for a review of the GST arrangements to see if changes would be cost-effective.
Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten says the Government will set up a taskforce, the Retail Council of Australia, to look at the situation.
"All the experts so far, other than some of the large retailers, have indicated to us that they cannot see a way at the moment of collecting GST on items underneath $1,000 without paying more to collect it than the money that's actually raised," he said.
"Something as important as the retail industry needs all the players around the same table," he said.
Mr Shorten says a threshold of $100 would cost $1.2 billion to collect $500 million worth of tax.
He says there are many opportunities for online retail.
"The Australian retail industry should not regard the internet as some sort of big brown snake that has snuck into the kitchen and imperils the future of retail," he said.Trading hours overhaulWhile retailers argue https://www.goldengooseshoesit.com/ the current GST exemption on imports affects them, the commission says it is only a "minor part" of the competitive disadvantage they face.
It has also recommended a complete deregulation of business hours including on public holidays.
It says there may need to be changes to workplace laws to increase retailer flexibility.
The report says planning and zoning regulations are "complex, excessively prescriptive and often anti-competitive", while trading hours rules restrict the industry's ability to compete with online businesses.
Workplace relations rules "may not provide sufficient workplace flexibility" for retailers, the report says, arguing more flexibility should be considered as part of the Fair Work Act review to start next month.
Retailers have welcomed the Federal Government's decision to set up a taskforce to look at the issue.
But Margy Osmond from the Australian National Retailers Association says the movement towards online retailing is much bigger than the commission says.
"We do think the Productivity Commission has underestimated the impact of online shopping and its critical impact, particularly in the discretionary spend sectors," she said.
"So when you go into fashion, you go into books, when you go into accessories - any of these areas are really feeling the pain." External Link:Productivity Commission report on the retail industry