Amazon has reopened its global website to Australian consumers, with the backflip coming just in time for Black Friday sales. The giant online retailer closed the global store to Australians in July after the federal government introduced changes to the GST – known colloquially as the "Amazon tax". It placed the 10% tax on all low-value overseas purchases and businesses with a turnover of more than $75,000. On Wednesday night, Amazon bowed to pressure from local shoppers and Scott Morrison, who had slammed the retailer for deciding to "take their bat and ball and go home" while he was treasurer. "As a result of customer feedback, from November 22 Amazon customers will be able to ship eligible items from amazon.com to Australian delivery addresses," an Amazon spokesman said.
Amazon has announced that it will no longer be shipping to Australia out of its global store, when changes to the country's goods and services tax (GST) come into effect on July 1, 2018. In an email sent to Australian customers of the global marketplace, the company said from the start of July it will be redirecting customers from its international Amazon sites to amazon.com.au. "While we regret any inconvenience this may cause, from 1 July we will be redirecting Australian customers from our international Amazon sites to amazon.com.au "We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to international selection and allow us to remain compliant with the law which requires us to collect and remit GST on products sold on Amazon sites that are shipped from overseas." From July 1, 2018, overseas retailers selling goods to Australia will be liable to pay GST on items under AU$1,000.
Amazon Prime has launched in Australia, 13 years after the United States got its hands on the service. Prime is Amazon's membership program that promises free delivery on some items, and two business day delivery to customers in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, and regional cities such as Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Gold Coast, Gosford, Newcastle, Shepparton-Mooroopna, Toowoomba, and Wagga Wagga. Prime members in more remote or rural locations will receive free expedited shipping in four or five days, Amazon said. Amazon is handing out a free 30-day Prime trial, which can then be continued at a cost of AU$6.99 per month, or AU$59 annually. Until January 31, 2019, Amazon Prime will be available at a cost of AU$4.99 per month as part of a promotion the retail heavyweight is trialling to get locals on board.
Despite being able to handle different sales tax in different jurisdictions around the world, Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison has said Amazon's decision to move its Australian users away from its US storefront is a commercial one. On Thursday, Amazon announced that due to changes in the collection of Australia's GST on low-value imported items, Australians heading to amazon.com "If you are selling things in Australia, it's subject to tax," Morrison told reporters on Friday. "You don't get a special deal because you are a big company or a multinational -- we're certainly not going to let that wash with this government. "I think it is disappointing that Amazon would take this out of consumers in Australia, but that's their commercial decision, and if they want to take their bat and ball and go home then I think Australians will form the same view about that, as they do about others who do that sort of thing in our community."
SYDNEY – U.S. internet giant Amazon will block Australian shoppers from its international websites to counter new tax laws on online purchases, it announced Thursday. New rules require internet retailers like the American behemoth to collect a 10 percent goods and services tax on everything bought from overseas sites from July 1, including under the current tax-free threshold of 1,000 Australian dollars ($760). As a result, Amazon said Australian shoppers wanting to use its global platforms will instead be directed to its smaller Australian site, which offers much less for sale. Amazon reportedly balked at the massive administrative burden of tracking GST from all overseas transactions. "While we regret any inconvenience this may cause customers, we have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple international sites," it said in a statement.