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Hockey flags changes to GST on downloads

Federal treasurer Joe Hockey has flagged that the GST could be applied to intangible downloads such as ebooks as part of ‘tax integrity’ measures to be introduced in the May federal budget.

Following a meeting with state and territory representatives, Hockey said he will work as quickly as possible to introduce legislation to apply the GST to intangible purchases from offshore providers. ‘There is no doubt that there would be an increase in overall revenue if the GST were to applied right across the board to the delivery of information and licensing and so on over the Internet, as if it were delivered domestically,’ said Hockey. ‘The States agreed in principle that we should move in that regard.’

Hockey also flagged his interest in applying the GST to low-value goods under the $1000 threshold for online international purchases, but noted that he wanted consensus from all the states on how the matter should be tackled. ‘[Lowering the threshold] would probably be the appropriate system to follow as well, because there are now fewer providers of goods into Australia than there might have been two or three years ago,’ said Hockey. ‘Therefore, you can identify those major providers of goods and therefore ask them to charge GST as well, so that there is competitive neutrality.’ Hockey said that WA had previously held out on moves to lower or remove the threshold, but that he has ‘detected a slight change in attitude’.


Category: Local news