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While industry titans Amazon and eBay have made well-publicised transitions to the new GST framework, the lack of consistency across the online sphere from smaller operators highlights the challenge the Australian Tax Office faces in policing the sector. US based electronics stores, vinyl retailers and sports shops have also failed to keep up with the legislative change as the ATO vows to match tax receipts and chase down offenders. Popular US vinyl distributors have listed a tax of "0 per cent" on their invoices for Australian orders while New York based electronics exporter B&H also noted a "sales tax" of $0 for "thousands of satisfied Australian customers." Some operators, including UK luxury fashion retailer Net-A-Porter, have got their act together in time. It has a 10 per cent tax on a pair of $279 earrings clearly labelled at checkout. So too a Kogan compact robot vacuum, worth $199, now $217 with GST. Others such as Matches Fashion have used the GST as a marketing tool, telling customers "it's now even easier to shop in Australia...we will pay the new 10 per cent GST for you", as they proceed to checkout. Need Supply Co, an emerging US fashion warehouse, puts the onus back on customers telling Australian customers that "you may be responsible for import duties and taxes on your additional order". "We suggest that you contact your local customs office for additional information." The Tax Office has ordered online stores to collect GST on their customers' behalf. There is no mechanism by which shoppers are able to contribute 10 per cent of their purchase independently. A spokesman warned businesses that chose not to comply could face 75 per cent penalties on top of unpaid GST, Australian payments being garnished out of their accounts and debt recovery action in foreign courts. "The ATO cannot publicise action taken in individual cases due to privacy laws [but] businesses that do the right thing can be assured that we will, where appropriate, pursue businesses that don’t do the right thing," he said.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/online-shopping-giants-fail-to-keep-up-with-gst-20180709-p4zqbw.html