GST on online purchases

Stuff reports:

Online shoppers face being chased down for on all goods, services and digital products bought from overseas.

A joint working party has been set up by Inland Revenue and Customs to investigate collecting GST on more personal imports.

Credit-card companies could be asked to collect the revenue, as could overseas payment intermediaries such as PayPal.

You could ask, but why would they? It would cost them money, and anger their customers to discover what they purchased has had 15% added to their bill.

The Government is also reviewing the threshold at which you have to pay GST on imports. It is currently $400, which means they only collect GST if it is of $60 value or more. You may be able to lower that threshold slightly, but I suspect the costs of collection would be more than the revenue gained if they dropped it by much. In Australia I think the threshold is $1,000.

The other issue is that many online retailers, especially in Asian countries, automatically declare the values of the goods they are shipping to be $20. Short of opening every letter and parcel and getting the contents valued, there is again little that can be done.

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