New tax plan for imported parcels

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The Department of Home Affairs has proposed a second slug on purchases from overseas websites, recommending that up to $7 be charged for each mailed package.

It follows the 1 July 2018 introduction of a goods and services tax (GST) on all imported purchases.

In a discussion paper, the department said the levy would help recoup the cost of screening parcels imported into Australia.

Last financial year, almost 40 million parcels, equal to nearly two per person, arrived from overseas.

The ABC reported on its website that the department was promoting a tax of between $2 and $7 per item to cover costs associated with biosecurity, cargo and trade border activities.

From 1 July, people who shop on overseas websites will have to pay a 10 per cent GST. Previously only goods worth more than $1000 attracted the tax.

Last year, online retailer eBay threatened to block Australian customers from buying on overseas sites if the Federal Government went ahead with the new GST sting.

If the proposal for a parcel tax goes ahead, the price of a large-print, paperback copy of John Grisham’s latest novel, The Rooster Bar, would go from A$24.95, as it is currently listed on Amazon’s US website, to A$34.45, including the new GST – that extra $9.50 is equal to a 38 per cent increase.

Will you bother to shop online if you have to pay a parcel tax on overseas goods?

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Written by Olga Galacho


Total Comments: 62
  1. 0

    On line shopping is slowly killing the retail industry without us even realising it. Soon we will not have shops to shop around and look st things. Yes I agree that on line should only be for selected items you don’t find in the shops and if you wish to buy on line it should be at andven playing field. Since it’s foesnt pay for rental, wages and other expenses a fair tax should be added to make things fairer for retailers.

    • 0

      We have too many shops these days all fill with overpriced imports from China. Bring back Australian made industries instead of importing that crap and support Australia instead if China. Online shopping is making Australia Post rich instead of making the buyer pay more tax, tax Australia Post it is privatised.

    • 0

      Wrong Jackie Australia Post is the trading name of the Australian Postal Corporation (formerly Commission), an Australian government-owned corporation that provides postal services both locally and internationally, as well as operating retail outlets.

    • 0

      It won’t be a level playing field. Retail stores have to drop their prices and make less profits to stay in the game.
      And yes I agree with Jackie so much stuff comes from China. I went to buy pj’s and slippers the other day, all from China. Even my new bike that I have put on layby is made in Asia, I think Taiwan. What does Australia make? Even if they make something here it is usually only assembled from components from China. All you can do is try to support Australian business but it is not always easy.

  2. 0

    The major problem for the public is how to keep these pollies (at all three levels of government) out of our wallets.

    Our taxes are to pay for infrastructure etc and now they want to force us to pay yet another tax/levy ( in addition levying a new GST) to do the same.


    • 0

      Yeah I can’t see them using the extra income wisely, after all they are going to give $65 billion to big business and recently trying to open up more fishing grounds in the Great Barrier reef, effectively reducing all the protected marine parks.

  3. 0

    I usually only buy inexpensive jewellery from overseas on Ebay. $5 tax would be more than the article costs in most cases, so I probably won’t bother.

  4. 0

    It comes down to pay for what you use. In the case of overseas purchases the cost of admitting those purchases into the country should be borne by someone, and it is only fair it is the purchaser.

  5. 0

    I only buy from within Australia from mostly existing bricks and mortar outlets that sell online. Some computer software of course you have no choice as it is an overseas product – the thing that does annoy me however is something I recently found with software – the product is now available from within OZ at almost twice the price AUD than USD so obviously they will not get my custom!

  6. 0

    It is a typical human reaction! “I am alright, Jack”, until I get hurt or I am taxed. What happens to the patriotic slogan, “buy only Australian produce or products”. This is partly the LNP government’s fault, advocating “Free Market”. Wake up everybody, nothing is free in this world, particularly the global economy. They either suck us dry or exploit our free market and take all our bounties to line up their wealth overseas.

    It is also a typical reaction of eBay, threatening embargo on online Australian customers for the levy on bio-security check, being against free trading. eBay is an American corporation, who is not objecting to its Administration on reintroduction of tariff on its imports. eBay is a big corporation, conducting business all over the world, as part of the global economy. However, just because its size, it is definitely NOT a government, imposing its will on Australians as their customers. Without customers, eBay like any other corporations, great and small, are nothing. I wonder, how much eBay and other eBusiness companies pay taxes to our ATO, as a abiding corporate citizens of Australia? They don’t pay, but you and I have to pay their taxes via GST and other charges. The big corporations think they are Money God and do what they like. They exploit our “Free Market” in the name of competition through global economy to suck us all dry.

    All international and big corporations are the causes of the big leakages from our Australian “Free Market” economy, that’s why our government cannot do it alone to introduce tax reform, measures to fix budget deficit, implementation of an industrial bargaining to raise basic wages, effect control over inflation rate, normalisation of interest rate and control over our land and resources to foreign purchasers.

    All the external forces of globalisation have a lot factors affect the ailments of our Australian economy. These factors need to be carefully examined with a view to stopping the leakages from our economy. The proposed $65 billion gift payments to corporations are not the solution when we already can identify the size of the leakage from these payments to overseas. When we cut foreign aids, we said charity had to start at home. Why are we doing this $65 billion donation to big corporations, who think they are so Money God?

    I wonder, how much of this $65 billion donation will affect their share values and their dividend distribution to shareholders. If there any prospect of increasing dividend pay-out, it will be discounted by the low tax cut proposed by the LNP government. The lower tax rate will affect your refund or payment of franking credits. You and I cannot win, the government gives you something on one hand and take it away from the other hand. The government hasn’t make any effort to look beyond our borders and horizon to fix our economic problem. In fact, the government cannot look beyond its nose and that is why the government and opposition are picking on vulnerable senior citizen and other disadvantaged groups and cut down services to pop up this morbid economy.

    • 0

      But wasn’t it Paul Keating who started us on deregulation and the free market economy.

    • 0

      Indeed, he did. He also put a million people out of jobs for the depression we had to have. He called our economy a banana republic! That sums up our pollies, doesn’t it?

    • 0

      Curious – Curious to know the name of the loopy planet – clearly divorced from the real world – that you live on?

    • 0

      Not-a-Bludger, to answer your question: Earth and the Continent is Australia.

      If you read my comment carefully, I agree that the proposed levy is justified but the big companies like eBay, want to exploit our generous “Free Market” to make profit and yet don’t pay tax to Australia, to pass on any levy and tax to customers, just they think, they are big enough to do what they like. This concept of globalisation to exploit our market and economy in the name of competition and democracy, I don’t buy it at all. The bounty of Australian labour and resources has been exploited and sucked out our economy, which I referred as leakages from our economy. These leakages need to be stopped. If you think this view is loopy, I don’t know where have you been on this planet, witnessing these atrocities.

  7. 0

    If more goods were available and affordable here in Australia, then this wouldn’t be an issue.

    Most of the items I purchase from overseas are for IT items, which aren’t available here, and items from China & Hong Kong have free shipping!

    • 0

      That has always been my dilemma too, no IT products are made in Australia and if we buy them here then big profits for the Australian re-seller (which is usually an Asian importer anyway).

  8. 0

    Australia Post is no longer AU. It sold out to Japan.

    • 0

      Wrong Australia Post is the trading name of the Australian Postal Corporation (formerly Commission), an Australian government-owned corporation that provides postal services both locally and internationally, as well as operating retail outlets.
      They are a self-funded government business enterprise. The Australian Government is the sole shareholder.
      They don’t receive any taxpayer funding and they paid more than $2 billion in dividends to the Australian Government over the past decade.
      Your Welcome.

  9. 0

    Its always just a matter of time before the liberals start going too far and messing things up….

    I wish I could keep voting for them but when they start making imported items under $1000 more expensive, instead of making businesses compete, I start to look elsewhere.

    Sometimes my age pension will allow me to buy quality items on Ebay for a very low price and they cant be bought anywhere else.
    Local business wont get these items in, even when you ask them too, because everything they sell is controlled by a company in a capital city. They steer away from small numbers of quality items, because they make more money putting a high markup on junk that seems inexpensive, until you find out they almost got it for nothing.

    I like to have an overseas competitive market to browse and buy items that local businesses are not innovative enough to consider.

    • 0

      Less than a day later I read that the federal government is opening up more areas of the great barrier reef to commercial fishing. They’ve lost it again, time to turf them out.

    • 0

      Yes Charlie , this Government is the worst for environmental standards ever. It is all about big profits for big business, never for the average person or the future of our children. We have massive clearing of tree’s in NSW and QLD that is at an alarming rate, killing off our koala’s and the worst CO2 emissions ever. Also they are trying to sneak in more coal mines bigger than Adani’s whilst everyone is concentrating on stopping the Charmichael mine, bigger ones are being proposed. All those profits will end up overseas and not to help Australians. Taking from the poor and given to the rich, that is this governments motto. Vote for the smaller parties and independants.

  10. 0

    Fully support the introduction of a surcharge (it’s not a tax) designed to recover the additional cost that is required to keep our borders safe.

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