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Comeback by James Button

NZ to tax ebooks from overseas retailers from October 2016

The New Zealand government will collect a GST on ebooks and other digital products purchased online from overseas retailers from October next year.

Revenue minister Todd McClay first announced the plan in August and this week introduced a Bill to parliament that will see customers pay a 15% GST on all digital products and services purchased from overseas retailers from 1 October. The government expects the Bill to raise $NZ40m (A$36.45m) in revenue.

Booksellers NZ CEO Lincoln Gould said in a statement that ‘the Bill goes only halfway to rectifying the GST problem with foreign retailers and benefits only big businesses engaged in selling videos, music and ebooks’, and called for the GST to be extended to physical products purchased online from overseas retailers as well.

‘A discussion paper on applying GST to online purchases of small value goods was expected this month,’ said Gould. ‘Now the minister has said this discussion paper will not come out until April next year from the Customs Department.’

In August then-treasurer Joe Hockey announced the Australian government would apply a 10% GST to all goods purchased online from 1 July 2017, after earlier announcing it would extend the GST to digital downloads.

 

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