Australia e-commerce

Wrecking the Promise of the “Micro-Multinational”

Amazon’s move was in response to a decision by the Australian government to both impose a 10 percent tax on all imported goods into Australia and lower the de minimus threshold (DMT) for entry into the country from AU$1000 all the way to $0. The DMT is a government-imposed limit under which imports are exempted from taxes, import charges and most customs duties, and have a limited clearance processes and data requirements.  A higher de minimus, in particular, can make it much easier for smaller firms to ship goods globally since most are not sending 40 foot containers anywhere, but small size packages.  Under the new law, businesses located anywhere in the world that experience an Australian annual turnover of AU$75,000 or more are now required to register with the Australian Taxation Office. The combination of the removal of the DMT and the imposition of tax is very problematic.  It creates a triple burden for firms shipping smaller value packages into the country: they must now deal with duties or tariffs, they must handle often complex customs forms and paperwork; and they must be prepared to pay tax in Australia whether or not they are based in Australia.