On 5 July 2021 the Government announced that the Board of Taxation would undertake a review into the Low Value Imported Goods (LVIG) measure which facilitates the addition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on low value imported goods.
The Board assessed the effectiveness of the LVIG regime and provided advice regarding its ongoing operation.
Before 1 July 2018, goods imported directly by consumers costing $1,000 or less did not attract GST. High value goods with a customs value over $1,000 were assessed and charged GST at the border.
From 1 July 2018, GST was applied to low value goods using a vendor registration model. This model requires suppliers, online platforms and re‑deliverers with an Australian GST turnover of $75,000 or more to register, collect and remit GST to the ATO. Suppliers can also access the simplified GST registration and reporting system. The existing processes to collect GST on imports above $1,000 at the border remain unchanged.
At the announcement of this measure in the 2016‑17 Budget, the Government also announced that the LVIG regime would be reviewed after two years to ensure that the regime was operating as intended and to consider any international developments. The Board was requested to undertake this review with the following terms of reference.
Terms of Reference
The Board of Taxation was asked to do the following:
- Assess the effectiveness of the LVIG regime to efficiently collect GST with reference to the policy intent of the law that low value goods imported by consumers face the same tax regime as goods that are sourced domestically. In doing so, the review will:
1.1 assess the effectiveness of the administration of the measure;
1.2 assess industry compliance with the LVIG rules;
1.3 undertake a targeted external consultation process, working closely and collaboratively with the Treasury, Australian Taxation Office, and Australian Border Force;
1.4 examine the issues identified in the consultation process; and
1.5 provide any observations, findings, and appropriate recommendations for improvements and certainty to the ongoing operation of the LVIG regime.
- Report on and assess any relevant international developments and experiences regarding the collection of GST and other consumption taxes on LVIG.
The Board appointed Board members Dr Julianne Jaques QC and Tanya Titman to lead the review. They were assisted by a working group comprising industry experts, members of the tax profession, and representatives of the ATO, the Treasury, and Australian Border Force. Throughout the review process the working group conducted targeted consultation with stakeholders in the business community and government.
The Board published a Consultation Guide to explain the review process and guide stakeholders on how to contribute. It also posed a number of questions for interested parties to think about when formulating input to the review.
The Board held a number of virtual consultation meetings attended by representatives of tax profession, domestic and foreign retailers, and specialists in ecommerce, freight forwarding, logistics and customs processes. The Board also received eight written submissions (with two being confidential).
The Board would like to thank the many tax professionals and industry body representatives who participated in our consultation process.
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The Board completed its report on 17 December 2021.
Government Response to the Board’s Report
On 29 March 2022, the Government announced the publication of the Review of GST on low value imported goods report. The Government and relevant regulators will consider the Board’s recommendations and findings in the report.
For further information about the Board’s report: Review of GST on low value imported goods, please contact the Board of Taxation Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 6263 4366.