Agitation to "level the playing field" by imposing the Australian goods and services tax (GST) on most items we purchase online reached fever pitch last week with the release of the Low Value Parcel Processing Taskforce report, which recommended imposing the GST on all purchases worth $500 or more. But don't panic: your Christmas shopping is safe for now.
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Currently, 10 per cent GST is only charged on imported goods if they are worth more than $1000. Local retailers have argued that this puts them at a disadvantage, though it has long been evident that the local price difference is often much more than 10 per cent.
The review suggested lowering this threshold to $500. However, the government has has rejected that suggestion for now, noting that the cost of processing millions of extra parcels would be higher than the extra tax collected. "The threshold for customs duty will remain at $1,000 until such time as sufficient data and systems necessary for efficient and effective customs duty assessment become available." I wouldn't be holding my breath for that one, though