Shops praise online tax hit

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Albany retailers hope new legislation forcing overseas online traders to include GST in their prices will boost sales and help revive a flagging sector.

Legislation requiring offshore retailers, such as Amazon and eBay, to charge GST on products under $1000 passed through Federal Parliament last week.

Eclectic Ladyland owner Shannon Fox said she often had customers try on an item and photograph the tag to see if they could find the product at a cheaper price online.

“I think this will force them to come back into the stores rather than purchasing online,” she said.

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“I think you’ll find most Albany retailers will tell you that it’s dead and really quiet, just going down York Street you can see it.

“Hopefully this will help change that.”

Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Russ Clark said the legislation was needed.

“You have got to protect local businesses,” he said.

“Why should overseas retailers not attract GST on their products?

“There are a lot of local businesses out there doing it tough and this will make it a level playing field.”

Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson indicated his support for the new legislation, which will come into effect in 2018.

“It’s hard enough for our small businesses to operate in a tough climate without allowing overseas vendors to provide tax-free prices,” he said.

“Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular as people look for the cheapest product and multinationals have been reaping the rewards of what is essentially an unfair system.

“When we’re talking about products that cost several hundred dollars, 10 per cent becomes a significant disadvantage for local business owners who have to apply the GST.”

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