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.
A significant GST matter reflecting brave new policy globally
The NZ Government announced last week that it is seeking consultation on the best way to collect GST on online purchases, by private NZ consumers, of imported low value goods (LVGs) under NZ$400 (approx. USD 280). If enacted, the new rules will apply from 1 October 2019.
This is a significant issue which has been discussed by the OECD, governments and regulators around the world. If enacted as currently proposed, the new LVG rules will be broadly consistent with the introduction of NZ’s remote services rules (implemented in October 2016).
The NZ remote services (RS) rules have been in force since 1 October 2016 and are regarded as a remarkable success by NZ Inland Revenue. Over 150 offshore sellers have registered and more than NZ$125 million of annual GST has been generated – the GST collected is more than 4 times the original estimates. NZ Inland Revenue deserves credit for the informative education campaign on the RS rules and efficient service when the rules first came in.
In accordance with our posts (here and here) on the new GST rules proposed to be effective form 1 October 2016 we would like to update you that PwC New Zealand has recently been advised by New Zealand Inland Revenue Policy that the standard legislative process will not be followed and the passage of the law will be accelerated.
As next step it is expected that the proposed draft legislation will be passed by the New Zealand Parliament under urgency in April 2016. We do not expect major changes to the draft law so businesses can already start / continue with their preparation for the new rules now. For convenience, please see below updated timeline until the go live date of 1 October 2016. Find out more
Further to our previous post the New Zealand Government submitted its legislative proposal in relation to the GST law reform on offshore online purchases of services.
The Government has followed the modern VAT/GST practices and OECD recommendations and has decided to reform the GST system. The reforms focus on two main areas:
- Digital products and cross border services, in respect of which draft legislation proposes imposing GST on digital products and other services purchased by New Zealand private consumers from offshore sellers. The new rules will apply from 1 October 2016.
- Low value imported goods, where a consultation paper is being worked on regarding the options to impose of GST and duties on low value imported goods. PwC New Zealand expects the document to be released in April 2016.
As widely anticipated, the Government of New Zealand has released a discussion document on the GST treatment of digital products and other services purchased online by New Zealand consumers. The analysis in the discussion document is based on the OECD guidelines for applying GST to cross-border services and intangibles (e.g. music, movie, and game downloads).
In relation to imported goods, the Government has indicated that various challenges exist to devising a solution for low value goods imports (covered by the current so-called $400 threshold or the minimum duties / taxes $60 concession). Although the goods solution is expected to take more time, work is progressing on a solution for collecting duty / GST on imported goods in the most efficient way.
According to PwC New Zealand the discussion document demonstrates that the Government and policy makers have a desire to keep the GST model current for the digital economy. This is in line with recent OECD guidelines and developments in Australia, Europe, Japan, South Korea, and South Africa. The document also addresses matters of sound tax policy, tax leakage (estimated at $180 million per annum and growing) and fairness. The measures will go a long way to ensuring that consumption in New Zealand is taxed in the same way as domestic purchases of goods and Services.