Australia, as well as many other jurisdictions including New Zealand and Switzerland, are implementing new rules regarding the application of the goods and services tax (GST) or value added tax (VAT) to the supply of low value goods to consumers.
1 July 2017, supplies of things other than goods or real property made to an ‘Australian consumer’ will be connected with Australia and subject to GST. The Australian provisions are broader than some other jurisdictions and essentially anything other than goods or real property are caught, and if an entity’s GST turnover exceeds the registration turnover threshold of AUD 75,000, it would be required to register for GST in Australia. Non-resident suppliers will be able to access a limited and simplified GST registration, although they can also register under the full registration procedure.
Where supplies of inbound intangibles are made through an Electronic Distribution Platform (EDP), the GST liability on these supplies would shift to the operator of the EDP (i.e. generally, online marketplaces that act as intermediaries). The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released a draft Law Companion Guideline (LCG 2017/D4) dealing with the EDP provisions.
In addition, under proposals still before Parliament (the Treasury Laws Amendment (Goods and Services Tax (GST) Low Value Goods) Bill 2017), low-value goods (AUD 1,000 and under) supplied by overseas retailers to Australian consumers would become taxable supplies beginning 1 July 2017. The Bill was referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee which recommended that the implementation of the measures be delayed to 1 July 2018. The Bill is listed to be debated in Parliament in June 2017.
Please see the attached newsletter for further details.
Treasury has released a second exposure draft (ED) legislation on the Government’s integrity measures to extend the GST to imported digital products and other services. The ED also seeks comments on provisions to give effect to the announced measure relating to GST cross-border business to business transactions and the ‘connected with Australia’ rules.
Treasury has noted that as a result of feedback from consultation (including feedback from a number of international suppliers that have had experience in dealing with similar provisions in other jurisdictions), changes have been made to the content of the earlier exposure draft. This is especially in relation to the Australian Consumer test and also the operation of the intermediary provisions.
There is still an opportunity to make submissions on these measures and given that Treasury has appeared to take onboard a lot of the feedback obtained, impacted taxpayers should use this opportunity to make any further comments on the ED to Treasury by Wednesday 21 October 2015.
The Australian Federal Treasurer announced yesterday that it will be discussing GST measures with State Treasurers today with a view to announcing changes to the Australian GST rules for online sales of goods into Australia. You may be aware that currently goods sold into Australia under A$1,000 (approx. USD 730) are not subject to GST or duty.
At this stage, we do not have any details of the precise changes, but on the basis of statements made by the Treasurer, it is assumed that the measures are likely to involve a requirement for a non-resident seller to register and account for GST on the sales of all goods into Australia. Such a change may not impact on the current import rules, potentially meaning that goods imported into Australia below the current A$1,000 low value threshold could continue to remain free of customs duties. Find out more
As anticipated in our recent post tonight’s Budget announced new law in relation to the GST treatment of digital products and other services imported by Australian consumers, based on the OECD guidelines for the taxation of cross-border intangibles. The new law will apply to supplies made on or after 1 July 2017. The closing date for the submission of comments on the draft legislation is 7 July 2015, which does not give affected taxpayers long to consult on the process.
On 9 April 2015, the Australian Treasurer announced that the government will be introducing new GST measures aimed at overseas companies supplying digital services into Australia. The Treasurer stated that “a company providing intangible services into Australia, such as media services or so on, wherever they are located they should charge GST on those services.”
Specific details of the proposed changes are not available yet, however, they are widely anticipated to be announced in the May 2015 Budget (on 12 May 2015).
The final report of the Low Value Parcel Processing Taskforce (“the Taskforce”) was recently released by the Australian authorities.
In a previous report in 2011 the Productivity Commission found that the low value import exemption threshold for GST and duty on imported goods (currently set at AUD 1’000) was not the main factor affecting the international competitiveness of Australian retailers (this is a totally opposite conclusion than the one made by the EU – see here for more info) . The Productivity Commission advised that there could be grounds to reduce the low value import relief threshold, but it is not cost-effective to do so without streamlining the procedure of processing low value parcels.
Find out more