Starting July 1, 2018, Australia will begin collecting a 10% tax on books ordered online from within Australia, and shipped from abroad.
The new regulation, which was agreed upon in June, comes after significant lobbying from Australian retailers, including the Australian Booksellers Association. The Booksellers Association has claimed its members are at a disadvantage under the current tax system. The Australian retailers say overseas companies were taking advantage of a regulation placing taxes only on imported items shipped from abroad that were valued at AUS$1,000 or more. This regulation, the retailers pointed out, left items below the threshold, such as books, tax free.
The new provision in the law extends the 10% tax to "low value" goods, including those costing as little as AUS$1. The tax must be collected by companies selling AUS$75,000 of goods or more a year.
Amazon was among the companies in opposition to the law, and had argued that taxing shipments to Australia was "unworkable." The American retail giant, which is expected to open an Australian based business next year, said a new tax would be too complex to implement. Others in opposition to the law included international online retailers such as Ebay and Alibaba.
Commenting on the change to the law at the Booksellers NZ Conference in Auckland on Sunday, Australian Booksellers Association chief executive Joel Becker said it was "good news." He went on: "I congratulate the Australian Government and praise all those within the books community and the broader business sector who collaborated so effectively on this long campaign.”