A focus on topical tax issues - September 2015
GST: Online purchases – What will be caught and when?
GST and online purchases of goods and services has been a topic attracting much commentary lately around the world as the importance of this often “untaxed” area of commerce increases. In New Zealand, the Minister of Revenue released a discussion document entitled “GST: Cross-border services, intangibles and goods” on 18th August 2015. The discussion document focuses on the collection of GST on “remote” services – services and intangibles (including digital downloads) supplied remotely by an offshore supplier to New Zealand-resident consumers. GST on the purchases of goods online from overseas is briefly considered in the discussion document, but while the issue is mentioned, it is seen by Inland Revenue as a “phase 2” issue, with services being the area that will have GST changes made first.
However, in addition to this, there have also been some very interesting developments in relation to the importation of goods into Australia. These developments have significant impact on the potential future landscape surrounding imports into New Zealand.
No specific implementation dates are included in the discussion document, but Inland Revenue is likely to want the changes for GST and imported services to take effect from some time in 2016. We consider that such a timeframe may be ambitious, particularly when suppliers’ own internal development lead time is considered. Instead we consider thought should be given to a July 2017 timeframe to align any New Zealand changes with Australia’s own start dates in this area.