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"Change to Australian Customs Law " Topic

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Henry Martini23 Apr 2017 3:39 p.m. PST

As many of us here in Oz know, at the moment goods imported into Australia with a value of no more than AUD$1000 are not subject to import duty or tax, however, from 1/7/17 this exemption will no longer apply, and GST of 10% will be collectable on such imports.

What you may not be aware of is the mechanism the government plans to employ to collect the additional revenue; it's somewhat unexpected. The AUD$1000 threshold will remain, meaning that ABF staff won't be required to deal administratively with the new revenue source. Instead, as occurs within Australia with local vendors, the responsibility for collecting the tax will fall to the supplier of the goods, who will charge it to the customer on behalf of the Australian government and forward it to ABF. But… again as is the case with Australian businesses, overseas companies that sell no more than AUD$75000 worth of products per annum to Australian customers will be exempt from registering for collection of GST.

Apparently some of the larger global online players have already come on board, and it's the fifty largest suppliers that the new legislation is primarily aimed at. In terms of our hobby I suspect that this legislation will mostly affect generalist online retailers, such as Wayland games, who are likely to be moving the greatest quantity of product. What I'm wondering is how many figure manufacturers that sell direct will be affected; perhaps GW, although I'd think most of its sales occur offline within Australia, but on the historical side… maybe Old Glory and 19th Century Miniatures?

The information from AFB suggests that compliance is voluntary. Overseas companies are being 'asked' to register, and I can't imagine how any sort of legal compulsion could be applied by ABF to non-Australian businesses.

Mako11 Inactive Member23 Apr 2017 4:38 p.m. PST

Yea, good luck with getting small, hobby companies and others to comply with Australian law.

MacrossMartin Inactive Member23 Apr 2017 4:55 p.m. PST

It is farcical. The policy is entirely aimed at keeping big box retailers within Australia from being forced to compete with the rest of the world. Deleted by Moderator I'd love to see a load of the bigger online companies thumb their noses at this thinly disguised protectionism Deleted by Moderator

bsrlee23 Apr 2017 5:22 p.m. PST

Yep, pretty much scare mongering intended to keep the local peasants in line and paying their tithes without putting the 'lords' to too much trouble.

Mako11 Inactive Member23 Apr 2017 5:40 p.m. PST

I imagine it will be virtually unenforceable against all but the largest retailers, and even that may be difficult if they don't have a presence in Oz.

shelldrake23 Apr 2017 5:52 p.m. PST

What an absolute joke – I just hope it doesn't come down to overseas shops no longer selling to us here in Australia.

Gustav23 Apr 2017 6:20 p.m. PST

totally ridiculous, on one hand supporting and demanding free trade and the global economy whilst on the other suppressing it.

All it adds is admnistrative overheads and more regulation and adds little to the end result. As usual the small business owners get screwed. Deleted by Moderator

Dynaman878923 Apr 2017 7:14 p.m. PST

The NERVE! Trying to collect tax money to actually pay for government services. Granted – if this is as stated above it is beyond idiotic in implementation.

Brian Smaller Inactive Member23 Apr 2017 7:17 p.m. PST

There is talk of the same sort of thing here in New Zealand. It has practically nothing to do with tax revenue and everything to do with protecting bricks and mortar retailers who are stuck in the mid-20th century.

McWong7323 Apr 2017 8:00 p.m. PST

I suspect it won't have a big impact of you order from the smaller operations, at least it's not collected by Auspost

nsolomon9923 Apr 2017 8:53 p.m. PST

I can't see how this can be enforced and collected from foreign companies based in different tax and legal jurisdictions?

My concern is like Sheldrake's, one possible outcome if this is pressed too hard is that non-Australian suppliers will simply refuse to deal with Australian customers so they don't have to worry about it.

But again, I don't understand how its enforceable?

emckinney23 Apr 2017 9:21 p.m. PST

Or, you sell until you hit 74,999 and then tell your Australian customer, "Sorry! Talk to your MP."

tyroflyer223 Apr 2017 9:38 p.m. PST

I wouldn't be surprised if companies selling over the 75000 create a second business or two to get under the threshold.

Mako11 Inactive Member23 Apr 2017 10:53 p.m. PST

If they want to collect taxes the should do it themselves, and not try to foist that responsibility and bureaucratic and administrative burden off onto others.

Pat Ripley Fezian23 Apr 2017 11:06 p.m. PST

they may still go the way of the UK where the tax (and the fee to collect the tax)is done at point of collection.

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2017 1:14 a.m. PST

Bloody joke. Deleted by Moderator Its farcical and unenforceable. It was originally mooted as a means to get people to buy local rather than send money over seas which I can sort of understand (although if some businesses were competitive it might work better for them).

However the fact hobbyists who either have no access to a brick/mortar store, or who have a limited choice of companies in Oz who may not carry items wanted, are also slugged ( and there are bound to be any number of other hobbys or similar) Deleted by Moderator

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2017 1:22 a.m. PST

Wonder how it works if it delivered to a UK/US address then posted here by a relative…..or someone enterprising could set up a mail box and launder the figures…..:)

Despite my last rant, it is what it is. Bloody pollies, but it won't break me.

Navy Fower Wun Seven Inactive Member24 Apr 2017 1:51 a.m. PST

I find it hard to comment on this issue without losing it completely – which none of you deserve…

Maybe I'll come back in 24 hours and be able to post without trying to bit the pc screen in two…

Let me just say that my opinion of Australian politicians could not be lower at this time…

There, that was quite restrained, I thought…

AussieAndy Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2017 3:58 a.m. PST

Let's also not forget the fact that GST is a completely regressive tax, which is yet another reason why it is loved by the rich.

I have some sympathy with bricks and mortar retailers in Oz, but I still find it hard to forget all those years before the Internet when we were ripped off blind.

tyroflyer224 Apr 2017 4:58 a.m. PST

Excuse my ignorance but if Australians go on line and buy miniatures from UK company XYZ does the price include VAT? Hate to think there was any prospect of double taxation here.

Henry Martini24 Apr 2017 7:06 a.m. PST

I'd be interested to hear from the companies I mentioned in the OP and any others who read this as to whether they've registered with ABF and will be charging 10% GST to Australian customers.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2017 12:04 p.m. PST

Don't feel lonesome. I sold some old figures in the US to a Canadian gamer, and he got hit with some whopping big tax bill. So evidently NAFTA means the big fellows can close the local car plant and more it to Mexico, bringing the cars here without paying tariffs, but if the laid-off line workers set up a small hobby business, suddenly there are customs barriers again.

shelldrake24 Apr 2017 2:53 p.m. PST

@tryoflyer2 – we are not supposed to pay VAT when we purchase online from UK stores.

Some compaines are really good and don't charge VAT when buying from them, but there are others that charge it and don't refund it.

tyroflyer224 Apr 2017 5:35 p.m. PST

Thanks shelldrake. Hopefully these companies won't be rude enough to charge VAT and the Australian GST if this gets implemented. Sounds like an administrative nightmare.

Tumbleweed Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2017 7:33 p.m. PST

Thanks for advising us, Henry Martini.

Mako11 Inactive Member25 Apr 2017 1:14 a.m. PST

Might want to review the NAFTA clause, and try to claw back that "tariff", which is just another fancy word for TAX.

Khusrau Inactive Member25 Apr 2017 6:44 a.m. PST

It is blatant protectionism on behalf of a number of major retailers. Ironically, it won't make very much difference, as the retailers who are being most affected by this in Oz, and the ones who have been applying the political pressure, have mark-ups well in excess of 10%.

I have always said I would be happy to buy from Oz retailers affected by the GST markup provided their price was less then the o/s cost + postage + 10%.

There is a small but definite risk of double taxation as not all UK retailers are registered for VAT, being below the threshold, and therefore unable to deduct.

Weasel25 Apr 2017 10:09 a.m. PST

I've definitely had European companies still charge VAT, while others have discounted it.

goragrad25 Apr 2017 2:01 p.m. PST

Based on my experience in buying from several UK companies, the ones that are not VAT registered (I contact for that information before ordering if not noted on their website) have lower posted prices.

One that I know of that is VAT registered uses the VAT to subsidize the shipping.

At least one Italian firm I know of states on their site that their prices do not include VAT and that local customers will have to pay that.

Haven't purchased from Australian or Kiwi firms yet, so can't say there.

thehawk25 Apr 2017 2:46 p.m. PST

If gst was not charged by the vendor, the addressee has to pay it before the goods are released for delivery. GST is payable on the total value of the package (including shipping charges). And the chance of also being charged duty might increase.

It's one reason why Amazon and some others are setting up in Australia. I have received a few emails advising me that I should switch to the AU store.

Henry Martini25 Apr 2017 7:30 p.m. PST

I'm not sure I fully understand your post, thehawk, so I'll just reiterate my OP:

Under the new customs regime applicable from 1/7/17, based on their assessed value goods imported into Australia by individuals for personal use will attract either a point-of-supply or a point-of-entry to Australia GST charge but not both. The only exceptions will be goods valued at no more than AUD$1000 supplied by a non-registered overseas business which I expect will include most wargame figure manufacturers and small general wargame paraphernalia suppliers by virtue of their sales to Australia not exceeding the registration threshold of AUD$75,000.

In the case of those wargame companies whose sales to Oz customers do exceed AUD$75,000 per annum, the imposition of GST on orders valued at no more than AUD$1000 will come down to whether they choose to voluntarily register with ABF for GST collection and charge it to their customers at point-of-sale.

Personal logo DuckanCover Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2017 10:58 p.m. PST

*Rant on, mild coarse language.*

After over four decades of overseas mail order/online purchases, I say, bring it the Bleeped text on.

"Overseas companies are being 'asked' to register, and I can't imagine how any sort of legal compulsion could be applied by ABF to non-Australian businesses."

Even if the gumbiment here sorts out how they think they're going to get firms overseas to actually roll with this, and assuming I keep making purchases from overseas, they'll never recoup what I've already saved by purchasing stuff I can't get here (or otherwise) from overseas sources.

"…as the retailers who are being most affected by this in Oz, and the ones who have been applying the political pressure, have mark-ups well in excess of 10%."

As has been observed in similar posts in the past, when attempts have been made to introduce this sort of malarkey, whatever they try to "tax" us on goods we buy off shore, it's often still cheaper to get the goods from foreign suppliers, than to buy them here (IF what you're after is actually available here).

"point-of-entry to Australia GST charge"

Could create a sporty little situation around Christmas time…

*Rant off*

Just my ill-coordinated two cents (remember those) worth.


trailape26 Apr 2017 5:56 a.m. PST

One word,..

Henry Martini26 Apr 2017 8:20 p.m. PST

Because the new charges will be levied by the vendor Christmas won't be any more stressful than it has been in the past for ABF Customs inspection staff, DuckanCover. They'll only be assessing the same packages they currently are, that is, those valued at more than AUD$1000.

In all honesty I doubt that this change will greatly impact the hobby in Australia. Most products are available from more than one vendor, so you'll be able to avoid the additional impost by buying from overseas companies that either fall below the taxable threshold, or which have opted not to register even if their sales to Oz exceed the threshold. It will be mainly registered businesses that suffer as they lose many of their Australian customers.

mrinku Inactive Member01 May 2017 5:42 p.m. PST

I predict that GW (who can be expected to register) will take the opportunity to pass the cost on to the customer.

Being in Hobart, I'm pretty much getting everything direct from the UK these days. The local hobby store markups are pretty high… as an example, a Perry £20.00 GBP kit will typically be AUD$55. Can't get any of the usual paints except GW or Army Painter for love nor money, and Army Painter is AUD$7 a bottle from the one supplier. At least I can get their sprays and dip if needs be (those are NOT something you want to get mail order…)

Henry Martini22 Jul 2017 4:29 p.m. PST

I'm curious to know if anyone has ordered goods from an O/S supplier since 1/7 on which GST has been charged, and if it has, the name of the business.

brelly26 Jul 2017 3:12 a.m. PST

The new rules have now been postponed until 2018 due to issues on how to implement. Who knows it may fall by the wayside as there might not be any Australian citizens in the Senate to ratify them.

brelly26 Jul 2017 3:20 a.m. PST

Additionally I have had miniatures delivered from the UK after 1/7 with values around $100 USD oz that have not been affected.

Henry Martini26 Jul 2017 6:04 p.m. PST

Do you know what date in 2018, Brelly?

poiter5026 Jul 2017 11:52 p.m. PST

1 July 2018 according to a email I received earlier this week.

Henry Martini27 Jul 2017 7:18 p.m. PST

Thanks, poiter50.

trailape03 Aug 2017 9:16 p.m. PST

The new rules have now been postponed until 2018 due to issues on how to implement. Who knows it may fall by the wayside as there might not be any Australian citizens in the Senate to ratify them

Well picked up!!!!

Gustav15 Aug 2017 2:42 a.m. PST


brelly30 Jun 2018 6:42 p.m. PST

The news that Amazon are directing all Australians to their Australian site so GST can be collected is known. However Ebay have just this morning charged me 10% GST on a purchase from an overseas source. Not sure what will happen when goods already ordered appear as the idea was to make the overseas companies collect the GST. Hopefully nothing!

chironex01 Jul 2018 3:55 a.m. PST

Hobbylink Japan have decided to comply:

"This is an important message from HobbyLink Japan to our customers in Australia.

In order to comply with new legislation by the Australian government, HobbyLink Japan will begin collecting Goods and Services Tax of 10% on the cost of items being shipped to Australia beginning Sunday, July 1st 2018 AEST.

If you are shipping to an Australian address, you'll now see an "Estimated tax to be collected" amount when checking out, as in the screenshot below."

I can't post the screenshot.

GST will only be charged to you when your ordered items become available and enter payment processing. At that time, the GST amount for the items in your order will be calculated and charged to you in the same transaction.

GST will only be calculated on merchandise, and not shipping costs. It will also appear listed on your invoice."

Snowcat05 Jul 2018 1:18 a.m. PST

I've read online that the 10% GST only applies to online businesses with an annual turnover >75K. And yet I've not heard this part mentioned once on TV.

"…the government's new online GST laws coming into effect on July 1, which require businesses with annual turnover greater than $75,000 USD to collect GST on purchases under the current low-value threshold of $1,000. USD"


Snowcat08 Jul 2018 6:46 a.m. PST

Well I just got stung with my first +10%GST on eBay. Joy. :(

poiter5008 Jul 2018 10:05 p.m. PST

I got stung with GST on the postage as well. Commented on the payment and no response so far.

brelly08 Jul 2018 11:24 p.m. PST

Sadly under the previous rules (prior and during the $1,000 USD limit) customs was charged on the goods value and the postage. I believe postage is considered part of this GST bite as well. Apart from EBay I have not had any other issues. That saying I have a delivery due in a month or so where the value is over $200 USD Aus so I will be interested to see if it gets picked up.

Snowcat11 Jul 2018 5:35 a.m. PST

My recent purchase (international import) included 10% GST on the shipping $ as well.


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