Midland business owner accuses Federal Government of encouraging fraud with GST policy on imported goods


Eddie Peters is concerned about the GST threshold in Australia which is costing Australians money. Picture: Martin Keneally d438922
Eddie Peters is concerned about the GST threshold in Australia which is costing Australians money. Picture: Martin Keneally d438922

A MIDLAND business owner has accused the Federal Government of encouraging fraud.

“Our current GST legislation allows it to happen and they have done nothing about this,” The Honda Shop Perth owner Eddie Peters said.

Mr Peters has been campaigning with many other business owners in the Midland and City of Swan area to get the Government to remove the $1000 GST threshold on imported goods.

He said the campaign had been running for three years but the group had hit a brick wall on government support for the issue.

“Many overseas companies are very happy to write out invoices for goods that are valued well over the $1000 mark and paid more for, for far less than the amount actually paid,” he said.

“This will continue to happen under the Government’s new plan to register overseas companies to collect the GST and send it to our ATO.”

Mr Peters said the amount of money leaving the country did not match with the amount on the invoice.

He said unfortunately businesses overseas had worked out how easy it was to scam Australia.

The Swan Chamber of Commerce said it had supplied copies of fraudulent invoices to Federal politicians Bruce Billson, Kelly O’Dwyer and Scott Morrison, as well as their counterparts in the Labor party.

New draft laws due to come into effect from July 1, 2017 will offer a vendor collection model, according to Federal Treasuruer, Scott Morrison.

Mr Morrison said in a statement released in November 2016, that he hoped it would help level the playing field for Australian businesses competing against overseas companies.

“When a consumer buys low-value goods online or over the telephone from overseas, they will be charged 10 per cent GST on the purchase, including delivery costs.

“Overseas suppliers who sell less than $75,000 of low-value goods to consumers in Australia annually will not be required to do anything,” he said.

Unconvinced this model will work, the Swan Chamber of Commerce said it believes because Australian banks collected FID and BAD taxes for the government in the early ’80s, they could do it again.

“There is no reason why they can’t collect the GST and any other import fees for the government now, particularly as everything these days is based on electronic management of all transactions,” Mr Peters said.

“In Australia, businesses collect GST and pay it to the government.”

Wesfarmers CEO Richard Goyder said: “If we in business have to pay all those fees, it’s only fair that every Australian has to pay the same”.

Retailer Solomon Lew said the changes needed to be introduced as soon as possible.

From July 1, 2017, the government will scrap the $1000 threshold and charge GST from $1.

“But they have not changed the $1000 Import Threshold, which means that up to the $1000 invoiced value, you still don’t have to pay Customs Handling Fees or any duty,” Mr Peters said..

Mr Peters said this made Australian business uncompetitive.

“They talk about creating jobs and growth and small business being the engine room of the country but politicians are still giving a massive advantage to overseas companies and jobs,” he said.

“Without the $1000 GST threshold being scrapped in its entirety, Australian business will still be scammed and lose income.

“After researching and speaking to several business owners and Business Associations, we found that the majority of those businesses closed simply because they could no longer compete with the inequity of the GST threshold legislation.”