Following the introduction of recent GST rules, Amazon has blocked Australians from purchasing items from the US website. Aussies are now restricted to purchasing items from the local website instead.
Amazon announced last Thursday that they would no longer be shipping items to Australian addresses through the American website from July 1. Shoppers living in the country will instead be redirected to the Aussie website to make their purchases.
This move is a response to the recent GST policy that will apply a 10% tax to all overseas purchases under $1,000. The tax was introduced by the Turnbull government to “level the playing field” between Australia and overseas retailers.
Amazon has criticised the policy for being unfair, saying the following in a submission to the Senate Inquiry:
“The bill imposes an administrative burden on sellers and electronic distribution platforms, which will create an inherent disincentive for them to comply,” its submission says. “It will create, rather than remove, distortions in pricing due to its lack of efficient mechanisms to require registration of vendors, detect non-compliance and ensure collection of GST on goods as they enter Australia.
While compliant sellers and electronic distribution platforms will charge GST, non-compliant sellers and electronic distribution platforms will be able to ship parcels to Australia at prices that appear more attractive to the consumer, with low risk of detection.
This incentivizes consumers to buy from less reputable overseas vendors, at increased risk.”
The multinational company has suggested to the Australian Government that they use a “logistics model” instead, which would require the Australian Post, express carriers and freight forwarders to collect the tax instead.
“Logistics providers already have infrastructure in place to collect information on goods coming into Australia and have well-established processes for GST collection for goods valued at more than $1,000,” they said in the submission.
Australian Government Treasurer Scott Morrison has warned Amazon that in blocking Aussies from the US website, Australian shoppers will abandon Amazon, saying that “[i]f someone takes their bat and ball and goes home, well, Australians will form a view about that. If that is what Amazon has decided to do, that is their decision.”
Whatever happens next, it seems that for now, Australians who have previously bought import games, movies, music and books from the American site will have to make do with the Australian one – or else find an alternative.