Literary industry welcomes abolition of GST threshold on offshore books

August 24, 2015

Australia’s book industry: authors, publishers, booksellers and rights managers have welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to reduce the Low Value Threshold on offshore purchases to zero from 1 July 2017.

The Australian Society of Authors, the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Copyright Agency and the Australian Council of Small Business called for the changes to level the playing field in terms of GST payments on goods purchased offshore, such as books.

CEO of the Copyright Agency, Adam Suckling, says, “This is welcome news to our many publisher and author members who have to date been unfairly penalised by the threshold.”

The ABA’s Chief Executive Joel Becker says, “Kudos to the Government – including Treasurer Joe Hockey; Assistant Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg; and particularly Small Business Minister Bruce Billson, an early supporter of this crucial reform – for their support of the closure of this loophole in GST tax collection.

We also note the long-time advocacy by former NSW Treasurer, now Premier, Mike Baird, for his ongoing advocacy for this change. We anticipate this will receive bi-partisan support, as it brings much needed revenue to provide essential services.

“We have always regarded collection of GST on online offshore purchases to be the responsibility of the seller, and not to be a costly Customs collection issue, which is how it has been treated up to now.

At various stages, there has been discussion of setting thresholds of $20 or $25. Our view has been that by casting the net to cover all purchases, there are massively less administration and policing costs than there would be in setting arbitrary LVTs. We have been really pleased to see other key retail bodies coming to a common view about a zero threshold.”

For further comments or information:

Joel Becker
Chief Executive Officer, Australian Booksellers Association
03 9859 7322 / 0413 903 510

Peter Strong
CEO, COSBOA and Board Member, Australian Booksellers Association
0433 644 097

Patricia Genat
President, Australian Booksellers Association
0419 340 056

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