Amazon blocks Australia from global sites over tax

Posted June 01, 2018

Amazon's ban on Australian shoppers could see other companies follow suit, experts have warned.

"We have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple worldwide sites", an Amazon spokesperson said.

The GST amendment lowers the current minimum spend for GST inclusion from $1,000 to $1 in response to backlash from local retailers.

Amazon did not explain its decision to geo-fence Australian users, but fellow online store eBay has not announced a similar measure.

From July 1, shoppers visiting Amazon.com (and other overseas Amazon sites) will be redirected to Amazon.com.au, which launched late past year.

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It was the move we all dreaded was coming: Australian shoppers will no longer be able to shop on Amazon's USA site as the company shifts focus to its local offering.

This coincides with GST changes where online retailers will have to apply the 10 per cent GST to goods bought from overseas sites and shipped to Australia, where now the tax only applies to imports of goods above $1,000.

"Amazon Global Store will allow Australian customers to shop on amazon.com.au for over 4 million items that were previously only accessible on amazon.com".

It is understood that Amazon baulked at the massive administrative burden of tracking Australian GST from all overseas transactions.

The move comes after the Australian government has expanded a local tax named the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to online goods shipped into the country.

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Amazon's Australia site boasts of selling over 60 million products, while Amazon's main site (the United States version) boasts of selling over 500 million.

At 1422 AEST, shares in local e-commerce site Kogan.com were up 11 cents, or 1.2 per cent, at $9.18, while shares of electronics retailers JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman were up about 2.3 per cent and 1.0 per cent, respectively.

U.S. internet giant Amazon will block Australian shoppers from its global websites to counter new tax laws on online purchases, it announced Thursday (May 31).

A spokesperson for Treasurer Scott Morrison said the new GST regulations "level the playing field" for Australian businesses.

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