Support for closing GST loophole continues to grow

BY Australian Retailers Association
08 January 2015

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed support from federal and state politicians and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in regards to closing the low value GST loophole once and for all.

In a bid to protect retail jobs, new Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has backed a review of the GST loophole that allows for goods under $1000 purchased from online retailers to be exempt from the goods and services tax, saying retailers were operating “with one hand tied behind their backs.”

Along with Assistant Treasurer Frydenberg’s support, the ARA is working with ACCI, of which the ARA is one of the largest and also one of the original founding members.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said there has been many road blocks in achieving tax equality for retailers, the latest being the West Australia Government playing politics to get a bigger slice of the GST pie.

“It is time for all business, governments and consumers to fix this problem which loses state governments legitimate revenue for schools, hospitals and police along with costing thousands of retail jobs in Australia. At this time of year more than ever, we realise how important retail jobs are to the Australian economy - retail provides more jobs than any other sector in the economy, employing more than 10 percent of the workforce.

“The GST loophole has done nothing but damage our retail sector. Retailers have been forced to play on an uneven playing field for too long as the current system is does not reflect the realities of today’s marketplace.

“The ARA is relieved to see Mr Frydenberg’s support and will be working with him and the Abbott government moving forward,” Mr Zimmerman said.

ACCI has also called for a major rethink of the GST-free threshold. The Chamber supports inclusion of the issue in the upcoming tax white paper process and would like to see the threshold lowered or abolished.

John Osborn, ACCI Director of Economics & Industry Policy, said “lowering the threshold is a case of tax equity and fairness. It’s not a case of online versus bricks and mortar retailers or a tax grab.”

Kate Carnell AO, ACCI CEO, said “a significant proportion of lower value parcels come from a small number of large foreign companies that could easily collect and remit GST to the Australian government.”

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.                                                                  

-ends-  For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call the ARA Media Line T: 0439 612 556 or E: media@retail.org.au

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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