Is eBay threatening an Aussie sell-out?

Tuesday 18 April 2017
Nic Crowther's picture
Co Editor
The Shaker

For almost 20 years, resourceful Australians have been using eBay to buy and sell good around the world. However, as the Australian Government scrambles for revenue (and meaningful policy for online retailing), the e-commerce giant looks to be putting its foot down…

…and Australian consumers are set to be the losers.



This morning, the company has issued an outright rejection of the government’s proposal to extend the GST to sub-$1000 online purchases bought from overseas suppliers by July this year.

The premise that eBay has brought to the fore is that the company acts as a catalogue of goods for sale, rather than a stand-alone retailer. In the world of eBay, the transaction is conducted between the buyer and seller -  and that any tax paid by eBay should be applicable to only the commission taken for hosting the sale.



eBay has also stated that managing the GST obligations of these parties would mean that the platform would become immediately unviable.

Gerry Harvey might be happy to shout about the lack of fairness in the current system (a position supported by plenty of Australian retailers who struggle to compete against cheap imports), but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the government has failed to develop a workable regime to manage the inconsistent way GST is applied.



With the local launch of Amazon into the Australian marketplace, there is real urgency to find a solution. If not, the government and consumers will experience a significant impact, with little benefit for the local retailers they are trying to help.