International GST backfires on Australians

The federal Government went after multinationals not paying their fair share of tax. As part of that crackdown, they also introduced legislation to make international companies charge Australia customers...

The federal Government went after multinationals not paying their fair share of tax. As part of that crackdown, they also introduced legislation to make international companies charge Australia customers GST on imported goods of any price, rather than goods over the $1,000 previous limit. Australia is an island, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, we’ve been able to access products from across the globe. While the loophole of no GST on sub $1,000 products did need attention, the sensible thing would have been to half it, not make it zero.

As a result of the upcoming changes to Australian laws on July 1st, 2018, Amazon have announced Australians will be geoblocked from Amazon’s US site, meaning millions of products are no longer available to Australians. This significantly reduces the number of products available from digital storefronts on Amazon’s platform, from around 400 Million, to around one tenth of that, just 40 million. On the surface, that still sounds like a lot, but like eBay, its the niche products that are the hardest to find in our country.

In an email to customers, Amazon are apologising with $20 of credit. However good the intentions of the Government were, the net effect is that consumers have lost here, competition has reduced in our country and users are now left resorting to clumsy work-arounds instead of a simple checkout and international shipping experience.

Dear Jason Cartwright,

As a result of changes to Australian GST law, on 1 July 2018 Amazon’s international shopping options for Australian customers will change.

While we regret any inconvenience this may cause, from 1 July we will be redirecting Australian customers from our international Amazon sites to amazon.com.au where you can shop for products sold by Amazon US on the new Amazon Global Store, available today.We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to international selection and allow us to remain compliant with the law which requires us to collect and remit GST on products sold on Amazon sites that are shipped from overseas.

Amazon Global Store will allow Australian customers to shop on amazon.com.au for over four million items that were previously only accessible on amazon.com. This selection is in addition to the more than 60 million products that are already available on amazon.com.au across 23 categories, including books, fashion, toys, and electronics.

To welcome you to amazon.com.au, and thank you for choosing to shop with us, we are offering you a $20 voucher to redeem against your next purchase on amazon.com.au of items sold and shipped by Amazon AU. Just include your unique promotional code below at checkout when purchasing eligible items (see full terms and conditions below).

Thank you for choosing to shop with Amazon.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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