Amazon to block Australian shoppers from global sites over tax

Vastavam web: US internet giant Amazon will block Australian shoppers from its international websites to counter new tax laws on online purchases, it announced today.New rules require internet retailers like the American behemoth to collect a 10 percent goods and services tax on everything bought from overseas sites from July 1, including under the current tax-free threshold of Austrian dollars 1,000 (USD 760).Amazon reportedly baulked at the massive administrative burden of tracking GST from all overseas transactions.

“While we regret any inconvenience this may cause customers, we have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple international sites,” it said in a statement.The retailer said it would compensate by opening a “global store” for Australians, adding an extra four million items previously available only on its American website.The new tax rules were brought in after years of lobbying by struggling local retailers, which have to apply GST to all online and store sales, Low consumer confidence and tepid wage growth have also hit traditional brick and mortar retail operations.

Amazon only launched a local Australian site last December, shipping from a warehouse in Melbourne with another planned in Sydney.It had around Australian dollar 1 billion in sales from Australia annually through shipping from overseas ahead of the launch, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.Treasurer Scott Morrison said the new laws “level the playing field for Australian businesses”.