The National Retail Association has today backed Treasurer Joe Hockey’s call for an end to the loophole that allows overseas businesses to sell their goods into Australia without charging GST.
Media reports today suggest Mr Hockey plans to tell next month’s G20 meeting in Washington that foreign companies should collect and remit GST when they sell goods to Australians.
NRA Chief Executive Trevor Evans said Mr Hockey had rightly identified the changing purchasing behaviour of Australian shoppers, and recognised the need for the tax system to adapt.
“The National Retail Association has been arguing for many years for an end to this unfair loophole, which disadvantages local businesses, costs Aussie jobs and takes away tax revenue that could be spent on local services and infrastructure,” Mr Evans said.
“Because the GST exemption also triggers an exemption from import duties and customs charges, the cost difference can be as high as 25 per cent compared with a product sold here in Australia.
“There is no way local retailers whether they are online or in bricks and mortar stores can compete against that unfair advantage.
“Local retailers whether they are online or in bricks and mortar stores cannot be expected to prosper when our own laws disadvantage them.
“Australian retailers aren’t asking to be protected from international competition. We simply say that we should be allowed to compete on a level playing field.
“This would allow local businesses to maintain a greater share of the on-line sales market, leading to more local jobs and greater tax revenues for State and Federal Government.
“We commend the Treasurer for recognising the need for this reform, and we urge the Federal Government to now follow through and ensure this unfair loophole is closed.”
The NRA is Australia’s largest and most diverse retail industry organisation, and has been representing the interests of the retail, fast food and broader service sector for almost 100 years.
NRA CEO Trevor Evans is available for interviews.
Media contact: SAS Media and Communications 07 3171 2960 or 0467 792 013