Ebay comes down on $5 parcel tax proposal
A spokesperson for Ebay Australia has confirmed there is a proposal from the federal government to levy a $5 tax on overseas parcels.
“We’ve been in consultation with the Government and are aware of the paper,” a spokesperson for Ebay Australia told Internet Retailing.
Fairfax Media yesterday reported that the federal government is considering ways to balance the bio-security budget, as the growing number of small parcels entering Australia from overseas retailers has raised the cost of security screenings.
According to a discussion paper obtained by Fairfax, the Department of Home Affairs predicts the number of parcels entering the country worth under $1,000 to increase by 31 per cent over the next four years from 38.7 million last financial year.
In comparison, the department predicts the number of high value parcels – which currently incur a $90 tax – will increase by just 10 per cent over the next four years.
The parcel tax would boost the budget by up to $200 million initially and even more in the long-term, as the number of parcels entering Australia continues to rise.
Ebay has “serious concerns over any proposed levy”, according to the spokesperson.
“This will hit consumers hard and we’re worried it will ultimately harm Australian small businesses,” the spokesperson said.
The potential parcel tax comes several months after online retailers’ last run-in with the federal government over its decision to extend GST to imported online goods valued at less than $1,000.
That policy is due to come into effect on 1 July, 2018.
Internet Retailing contacted the department for comment and was referred to a statement the Prime Minister gave yesterday in response to a journalist’s question about the reported parcel tax.
“There’s a big assumption in what you’re saying, so I wouldn’t rely on that just because you read it in one of our distinguished newspapers. As you know the Budget is only weeks away so we’re not going to comment on the budget. I’ll just leave it at that.”