Australian shoppers face Amazon restrictions | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 31.05.2018
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Australian shoppers face Amazon restrictions

US internet giant Amazon has said it will block Australian shoppers from its international websites. It's a move to counter new tax laws on online purchases and "the massive administrative burden."

New regulations in Australia require internet retailers like US company Amazon to collect a 10-percent goods and services tax (GST) on everything bought on overseas sites from July 1.

As a result, Amazon said Australian shoppers wanting to use its global platforms would instead be directed to its smaller domestic site offering much less for sale.

The company reportedly baulked at the massive administrative burden of tracking GST from all overseas transactions.

The retailer said it would compensate by opening a "global store" for Australians, adding an extra 4 million items previously available only on its American website.

But even with the changes, the number of products available would be a fraction of what's on sale globally.

The new tax rules were brought in after years of lobbying by struggling local retailers having to apply GST to all online store sales.

More fairness

On May 1, New Zealand said that as of October 2019, its online shoppers would also have to pay a goods and services tax under a fresh government proposal.

"Domestic businesses have long called for greater fairness in the treatment of low-value goods from offshore retailers," Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement.

"Small businesses such as bookshops have convincingly argued they're penalized by a system which is badly out of date."

The European Union for its part has announced plans to implement a similar system for collecting VAT by 2021.

hg/tr (AFP, dpa)

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