ACS backs government: Amazon should pay its share
Sydney, Friday 1 June; The Australian Computer Society (ACS) today backed the government’s position that multinationals should be required to collect GST like all other companies that sell to Australian consumers.
Amazon recently announced that it would block Australian consumers from buying directly from the its international sites and would instead direct them to the Australian Amazon site as of 1 July. The Australian site has a much smaller selection of goods.
This was in response to the government’s new rules requiring that online retailers start applying GST to goods under $1000 imported and sold to Australians.
“It’s a reality of the internet era that countries have porous borders with respect to trade. That’s a great thing – it means that consumers have much more choice than ever before. But it doesn’t mean that multinationals get to operate outside the bounds of the law,” said ACS President Yohan Ramasundara.
“All other companies that operate in Australia have to apply GST to their sales, and Amazon should have to as well. We believe all companies selling to Australian consumers should operate on a level playing field with respect to collecting the GST.”
According to Amazon, the change is happening because of the technical and logistical challenges of applying GST to those goods. Mr Ramasundara rejected that explanation.
“Other major international retailers seem to have little problem with applying the tax to their imported goods. Surely as one the world’s largest companies, with an R&D budget of nearly US$23 billion, Amazon is capable of doing the same?”
Ultimately this will hurt Amazon as well, said Ramasundara. “If multinationals treat Australian consumers like second-class citizens, they will find other avenues to purchase goods. It was Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who once said ‘We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.’ Offering Australians second or third-rate choices doesn’t seem to align with Bezos’ own ideologies.”
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ACS is the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. More than 37,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. ACS strives for ICT professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.