Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls.
Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls. john mccutcheon

Should we introduce a GST on overseas internet buys?

STATE Governments are renewing moves to introduce GST on overseas internet purchases worth as little as $20.

Imported goods costing less than $1000 are currently given tax-free status, something domestic retailers have long fought to have overturned.

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls is expected to make a case for cutting the tax exemption at a meeting of state and federal treasurers in Canberra tomorrow.

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has indicated she would back the move, which was rejected by the ousted Federal Labor government.

New South Wales Treasurer Mike Baird is also on board.

The Federal Government, wary of a backlash from consumers, has told states they would need to make a strong case for lowering the GST-exemption level for imported goods.

A Productivity Commission review in 2011 recommended the low-value threshold should be lowered to "promote tax neutrality with domestic sales" 

However, it said no change should be made until doing so was cost effective.

Its investigation found that cutting the tax-free threshold from $1000 to $20 would raise $500 million for Australian retailers, but would cost $1.6 billion to vet mail for imported goods.

  • Should a GST be introduced on "low-value" internet purchases from overseas? Leave us a comment below.


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