The Courier-Mail

Online shoppers cop GST

- STEVEN SCOTT HOW WE BROKE THE STORY LAST MONTH

ONLINE shoppers have less than two years to buy cheap goods from overseas websites before the Government imposes GST on all purchases.

Prices will jump by 10 per cent when the GST is imposed on cheap imports worth less than $1000 by July 1, 2017, and possibly sooner.

The deal struck between Joe Hockey and state treasurers to scrap the current $1000 GST free threshold will add to the falling dollar to drive up the cost of buying online from overseas.

Mr Hockey said he would like to see the change happen sooner if possible to help Australian businesses compete with overseas suppliers.

He denied the change meant he would break his promise not to change the GST this term because it was an “integrity measure” designed to close a loophole and is likely to take effect after the election.

“It is about the integrity of the system and it’s also about giving Australian business a chance to compete on a level playing field with businesses located offshore,” Mr Hockey said.

The changes will rely on overseas suppliers imposing the GST and will not see packages checked at the border.

Only retailers that sell more than $75,000 of goods into Australia will be asked to hit customers with the tax.

Mr Hockey’s calls to remove the GST on tampons and sanitary pads was rejected.

Queensland and other Labor treasurers backed the removal of the so-called “tampon tax” but all Liberal state treasurers are believed to have opposed it.

Mr Hockey did not argue the case, saying all treasurers knew his position.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said Mr Hockey had failed to remove an unfair tax. “Instead of demanding a deal to secure this, Joe Hockey has handed over additional GST revenue from digital downloads and overseas sales to the states and territorie­s condition-free,” Mr Bowen said.

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said he agreed to discuss cuts to state taxes as a long-term tax reform but insisted the state would not accept an increase in thehe GST rate.

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