Markets

Amazon just blocked Australians from shopping on most of Amazon

Amazon just blocked Australians from shopping on most of Amazon

It may also benefit Amazon's main rivals, from California-headquartered online market eBay to smaller Australian merchants which had campaigned to have the GST apply to all goods shipped from overseas. Previously, GST only applied to most goods and services sold in Australia, as well as imports worth more than A$1,000, giving companies that sold cheap imported goods an advantage over local suppliers.

"As a result of changes to Australian GST law on 1 July, worldwide shopping options for Australian customers will change", a spokesperson for the online retail giant said.

The online retail giant will direct Australian shoppers away from its United States and United Kingdom stores to its smaller local site from July 1 when the goods and service tax is extended to all imported e-commerce items. The change will be put into effect to charge GST on "low value imported goods" as of July 1st according to the ATO, and it seems Amazon is not keen to fall afoul of the Australian government. But taxes seem unlikely to protect brick-and-mortar shops from Amazon-.com or.com.au-in the long run.

New Zealand had also already applied GST to digital services from offshore, such as Netflix in 2016.

Amazon's Australia site boasts of selling over 60 million products, while Amazon's main site (the USA version) boasts of selling over 500 million.

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It is understood that Amazon baulked at the massive administrative burden of tracking Australian GST from all overseas transactions.

Last year, it was announced that Aussies would have to pay GST on all overseas purchases from July 1, 2018, leaving the country's online shopping future uncertain in the process.

"While we regret any inconvenience this may cause customers, we have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple worldwide sites", an Amazon spokesman said in an email.

In a statement issued to the ABC, Amazon said it regretted the move and the inconvenience to customers accustomed to visiting Amazon's global online stores.

"A level playing field will help Australian businesses grow and create more jobs and opportunities", the Treasurer's spokesperson is reported to have said.


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