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Aussies to be Blocked From Amazon’s Global Marketplace

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By Published On: May 31, 20180 Comments

Amazon will no longer allow Australian consumers to shop on its global marketplace, as the Australian Government moves to enforce GST legislation for overseas sellers.

With only a month left until Australia implements changes to its goods and services tax (GST), Amazon has announced its global marketplace will close to Aussie consumers when the changes come into effect on July 1, 2018.

Amazon has reportedly sent an email to its Australian shoppers informing them of its plans, saying any customers who try to shop on one of its international sites will automatically be re-directed to amazon.com.au.

“While we regret any inconvenience this may cause, from 1 July we will be redirecting Australian customers from our international Amazon sites to amazon.com.au where you can shop for products sold by Amazon US on the new Amazon Global Store, available today,” the company wrote in an email to customers.

This change is reportedly being implemented to ensure Amazon meets the new Australian GST laws, which will make any business selling to Australian consumers from overseas liable to be GST compliant if the items are less than A$1,000.

“We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to our international selection, while remaining compliant with the law”, the email said.

Originally passed in June 2017, the new GST laws mean any low-value imports will be treated the same as high-value Australian goods, as sellers who are not located down under will still have to register for GST collection. Additionally, any sellers that generate more than A$75,000 in revenue will be required to register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), so GST can be collected on any goods sold online by an international retailer.

This means that overseas sellers need to include GST in their price points, and regularly communicate their activities with the ATO.

According to Tim Dyce, the deputy commissioner at the ATO, in March this year, 320 international businesses had already registered for the new GST scheme.

The National Retail Association (NRA) believes this is a sign that Australian retailers will be able to operate on a level playing field with Amazon.

“Amazon’s announcement demonstrates that Australian retailers are more than competitive with international rivals when operating on a level playing field,” Dominique Lamb, the CEO of NRA said.

“Large overseas retailers have been receiving an unfair advantage over local businesses, but that will soon end when they are forced to pay GST on items shipped into Australia.

Amazon claims the inconvenience to Aussie consumers should be minimal since Amazon Australia launched in December last year. However, unlike their American counterparts, Australian shoppers have limited access to many of the goods and services provided to consumers in Amazon’s global marketplace, such as Amazon Prime.

Rumours have been circulating that Prime will be made available to Australian users this year; however, the e-commerce giant is yet to confirm anything. Reports have also suggested the online marketplace’s Australian presence has been slow to take off, so while official word is that Amazon is trying to remain compliant with local legislation, this could be an attempt to increase traffic on its Australian site, to keep disgruntled sellers and reluctant customers at bay.

This comes after the company announced it would be ramping up its Australian offering, opening a second fulfilment centre in Sydney’s south-west. The new 43,000 square metre site is expected to be operational by the second half of 2018.

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