Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Overseas ebooks taxed in NZ as digital imports GST comes into effect

A 15% GST is being charged on ebooks purchased in New Zealand from international vendors since the country’s digital imports tax came into effect on 1 October.

Other digital products now taxed include Skype phone calls, cloud software and the streaming service Netflix. International services registered as supplying from New Zealand, including Apple’s New Zealand iTunes store, have already been charging GST.

Copypress owner Dave MacManus told that having foreign vendors selling tax-free ‘certainly wasn’t encourgaging people to do anything in New Zealand’. ‘This levels the playing field quite nicely,’ said MacManus.

In a joint statement, Retail NZ and Booksellers NZ said that while extending the tax to digital imports is ‘good news for big tech firms like Spark and Sky TV’, the ‘government is missing the opportunity to level the playing field for retailers and rake in extra revenue from low value goods’.

‘Given that the scene has been set with digital services, the continued government inaction on low value goods is deeply disappointing,’ said Booksellers NZ CEO Lincoln Gould. ‘We are calling for urgent Government action to close the tax loophole.’

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, former federal treasurer Joe Hockey announced in 2015 that the Australian government will extend the 10% GST to digital downloads, including ebooks, purchased from overseas vendors from 1 July 2017.


Category: Local news