Booksellers await 'overdue' paper on tax-free offshore purchases

Todd McClay

The national lobby for booksellers say minister of revenue Todd McClay is late in delivering a discussion paper on extending the tax on overseas purchases that undercut local retailers meeting their obligations to the Inland Revenue Department.

McClay said last November that he'd release a discussion paper on treatment of overseas online retailers for goods and services tax, but the work was merged into a wider review of the tax system. Currently goods bought overseas attract GST, depending on the product, at above $240 or $400. Last year the Retailers Association called on the government to waive a minimum threshold for the value of goods that can be bought overseas without incurring GST.

"The Minister had every opportunity to announce a plan to put right this anomaly in the current application of GST - the so called universal tax," said Lincoln Gould, chief executive of Booksellers New Zealand. "Not only is it estimated that this is costing the government upwards of $300 million per annum, but it is hurting the economies of small business and thus small communities."

"The minister promised a discussion paper on the issue prior to Christmas last year following the establishment of across ministry working group," Booksellers' Gould said. "He failed to deliver then and now he has missed another opportunity."


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