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GST Online Tax Debate: Would You Pay An Extra Ten Percent On International Buys Under $1000?

Do You Think It's Fair To Pay GST On Your Online Buys?

Harvey Norman boss Gerry Harvey has launched an offensive at one of our favourite pass times. Well, that's a tad dramatic — but the outspoken CEO is calling for GST to be added to any online purchase made from an international site. Currently, if you buy an item from O/S under the $1000 mark, it's exempt from the goods and services tax. Harvey has been the mouthpiece for a number of big Aussie retailers including Myer, David Jones and Wesfarmers (who control Kmart, Coles, Bi-Lo and Target) who've jumped on the bandwagon — citing big losses due to the increasing appeal of online shopping. In response, they've released ads calling for a ten percent tax on all internet purchases, or axing GST on any transaction under $1000 all together. With savings on RRPs, and no taxes to pay — can they really blame consumers for heading into cyberspace instead of hitting the shops? Christopher Zinn from Choice magazine agrees, saying, "The big chains should recognise that it's their high prices, limited range and poor customer service that increasingly encourages people to use the internet.'' Ouch. Julia Gillard has commissioned a Productivity Commission into the effect of online shopping on the Australian retail sector, however its due date (in nine months time) seems to be too distant for the big retailers to stomach. Is this a fair call, or would GST on your online purchases kinda kill your shopping buzz?

Image Source: Getty
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