How parcel sting will make you pay

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

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