Amazon stops shipping to Aussies
AMAZON will stop shipping overseas purchases to Australia from July 1 in response to the government's online GST changes.
In an email to customers on Thursday, the e-commerce giant said "while we regret any inconvenience this may cause", it would be redirecting Australian customers from its international sites to Amazon.com.au, "where you can shop for products sold by Amazon US on the new Amazon Global Store, available today".
"We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to international selection and allow us to remain compliant with the law which requires us to collect and remit GST on products sold on Amazon sites that are shipped from overseas," the email said.
"Amazon Global Store will allow Australian customers to shop on Amazon.com.au for over four million items that were previously only accessible on Amazon.com. This selection is in addition to the more than 60 million products that are already available on Amazon.com.au across 23 categories, including books, fashion, toys, and electronics.
"To welcome you to Amazon.com.au, and thank you for choosing to shop with us, we are offering you a $20 voucher to redeem against your next purchase on Amazon.com.au of items sold and shipped by Amazon AU."
The company first flagged potentially blocking Australian users if the controversial online GST changes went ahead during a Senate economics committee hearing last year.
The new laws require overseas businesses with an annual turnover of $75,000 or more to register with the Australian Taxation Office to collect GST on all goods sold, including purchases under the current low-value threshold of $1000.
Representatives for Amazon, Alibaba, eBay and Etsy all criticised the changes, although Amazon insisted at the time it had not yet confirmed whether it would geoblock Australians.
Kevin Willis, the retail giant's director of global trade services, told the committee in his decades of experience with cross-border trade tax policy development, there "has never been a tax of this magnitude".
"The vastness and complexity, the number of players we're talking about, which grows daily as cross-border commerce takes hold, it's difficult to quantify what the implementation costs are, as well as any impact on revenue," he said.
"From our perspective that's going to be dictated by the behaviour of the consumers, so there's a big challenge how we go about this. Timing - I don't see timing as a solution. It really doesn't fix the fundamental flaws in the collection model."
Mr Willis said retailers would typically be given several years to prepare for changes of this scale.
"A lot of this is going to have to do with the infrastructure that's going to need to be built and continually updated and refreshed to make sure we are linking the appropriate parties," he said. "In a marketplace we don't touch those goods, they're not moving through the Amazon logistics system, so we have to work out where they originate from."