If you are from outside of Australia and running a website or otherwise sending goods to Australia, you might need to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In the last couple of years (from 1 July 2018) the Australian Government changed the law so that goods worth less than $1000 that are sent to Australia are subject to GST. Since that time, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has been sending letters to many websites telling them that they need to pay. A lot of the time the people receiving these letters think that it is spam or a scam of some sort. It isn’t.
Unfortunately, the Australian Government got a bit lazy and decided to impose the tax on the website owner, even if the website owner isn’t the actual seller. Its easier to charge the person collecting the payments than try to collect from each individual seller, which would be a real hassle. Many website owners don’t actually make enough money to cover the GST, which is calculated at 1/11th of the gross payment received.
This means if, on your website, a seller sells a good for $110, you are liable to pay $10 in GST. You might not even recover this in the fees you charge your sellers.
The law is relatively new, so the ATO is taking the approach that everyone just needs to pay it. Time will tell how it pans out in practice.
If you have been contacted by the ATO and want to work out whether you need to pay, or if you want to make sure you are set up correctly so you don’t need to pay (or are covered if you do) then please contact us and we will help you.
Our number is + 61 2 7200 8200 or email me personally at email@example.com