Customs hasn’t modelled GST threshold changes

The Customs and Border Protection Service has not investigated the feasibility of a lower GST threshold on imports and the relevant Minister is not answering questions, says the Fair Imports Alliance.

The Customs and Border Protection Service has not investigated the feasibility of a lower GST threshold on imports, says the Fair Imports Alliance.

In a press release issued today, the Fair Imports Alliance (a group of industry associations firmed in response to debate about GST-free imports) says it has received an email stating “Customs and Border Protection has not undertaken analysis of which threshold level will be administratively feasible.”

The extra workload expected to be imposed on the service if more incoming parcels were to be inspected and GST payments collected has been cited as a reason to retain the current $1000 threshold for GST-free imports.

Fair Imports Alliance spokesperson Brad Kitschke seized on that assumption in the release.

“The Government, from the Prime Minister down, has said it cannot lower the threshold because it would be economically or administratively unfeasible.

It is now clear the Government and industry has been lead down the garden path by the bureaucrats in Customs,” Kitschke said.

“It is staggering to think a Government agency like Customs cannot implement an efficient system to collect this revenue and even more impossible to understand how it advised the Government that something is not economically feasible to undertake, when they have never carried out any modelling to prove so,” Kitschke said.

The Alliance’s release says it also wrote to the Minister for Customs, Brendan O’Connor last month seeking answers to a series of 15 specific questions related to research, data and modelling around the Low Value Threshold, but says the Minister is yet to respond.

The revelation that Customs has not done any work in this area comes as the deadline for submissions to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the retail industry nears.

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