Online tax push gains momentum | Retail | GST | Myer | David Jones

Online tax push gains momentum | Retail | GST | Myer | David Jones.

So, basically the Aussie retailers want to ensure that GST is charged on goods purchased overseas online which, at the moment, is GST free if the value is less than AU $1000. They are arguing that the cheaper online shopping is costing them business.


Let’s see. I can order off the Internet when I want to. I don’t have to just go during shopping hours. When I order something, the online shopping system is polite. Many places have a real person who can take inquiries when you are shopping. It is also designed to be helpful to me. I order the goods, pay for them and generally the delivery charges are reasonable and they deliver to my home as soon as possible.

Compare that to shopping at Myers or Harvey Normans, for example. Walk into a department and stand around looking lost for 10 minutes as Mrs Slocombe talks to one of the other staff about her pussy. Or be unable to ask a question as there is only one staff member on in the department and they have a queue of 6 people to serve at the cash register. Even worse, have to ask a question about some technical gizmo because the store is too ignorant to put complete information next to the gizmo. Then when you buy something, be told that delivery will be next Tuesday as that is when your area is serviced.

I like shopping at Officeworks (who don’t appear to be calling for this change) as I can do my shopping there at 11:00 pm at night, after dinner, when I have time. There are staff there to answer my questions and they can. Bunnings, I can go to after dinner as well for my hardware, certainly up to 9:00 pm week nights. Woolies, Coles, same story.

Here is an example of what the retailers are not saying about their current problems in selling stuff to Aussies over the counter:

Bose QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones – their Australian price $499. That is, the Recommended Retail Price if you buy them in Australia is $499 and that is what most places charge. However, I can source them in the USA for the price of $299.

OK, let’s add the 10% GST on and that makes the international price $329. Add another $20 for shipping and that makes it, hmm, $349. Still $150 cheaper than the price in Oz.

Yep, getting the GST added on is going to make a difference … not!

It’s time the retailers stepped back, looked at their business model and instead of looking for excuses, looked for solutions.

2 thoughts on “Online tax push gains momentum | Retail | GST | Myer | David Jones

  1. Paul 30 November 1999 / 8:00 am

    The simple fact remains that it will cost the Australian Government more money to process parcels valued under $1000.00 than it will earn in GST revenue from these parcels. Also, the big companies forget to tell us that customers buying their goods from overseas are GST exempt. Australian companies have been undercutting their overseas counterparts since the introduction of the GST. I for one don't care if they put a GST on goods because they will still be a lot cheaper. eg. Australian hobby shop wants $149.00 for a battery pack for my remote control boat. I can buy the same battery from overseas for $17.00. Stick GST on that. It won't stop me buying from overseas.


  2. thomo the lost 30 November 1999 / 8:00 am

    OK, so it seems Wesfarmer's have decided to join the call for the GST change according to the Sydney Morning Herald today.

    Mind you, it seems only their Target brand name and not Officeworks or Bunnings.

    Still, it shows poor thought. If the product is available at a price I want to pay and at a time I want to shop, of course I will buy from a retailer because there I get instant gratification. However, most of the time, the difference in price between overseas online retailers and local retailers is way more than the 10% GST.

    I'll say it again – stop looking for excuses and start looking for a genuine solution!


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