US Internet giant Amazon.com Inc is to block Australian shoppers from its international Web sites to counter new tax laws on online purchases, it announced yesterday.
New rules require Internet retailers to collect a 10 percent goods and services tax (GST) on everything bought from overseas sites from July 1, including under the current tax-free threshold of A$1,000 (US$758).
As a result, Amazon said that Australian shoppers wanting to use its global platforms would instead be directed to its smaller Australian site, which offers much less for sale.
Amazon reportedly baulked at the massive administrative burden of tracking GST from all overseas transactions.
“While we regret any inconvenience this may cause customers, we have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple international sites,” it said in a statement.
The retailer said it would compensate by opening a “global store” for Australians, adding an extra 4 million items previously available only on its US Web site.
“This will allow us to provide our customers with continued access to [our] international selection and remain compliant with the law,” it said.
Even with the changes, the number of products available would be a fraction of what is on sale globally.
The new tax rules were made after years of lobbying by struggling local retailers, which have to apply GST to all online and store sales.
Low consumer confidence and tepid wage growth have also hit traditional brick-and-mortar retail operations.
Amazon only launched a local Australian site in December last year, shipping from a warehouse in Melbourne with another planned in Sydney.
It had about A$1 billion in sales from Australia annually through shipping from overseas ahead of the launch, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.
The new laws “level the playing field for Australian businesses,” Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said.
“The government doesn’t apologize for ensuring multinationals pay a fair amount of tax here in Australia,” he added.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
A two-hour drive south of Amsterdam in Veldhoven, workers decked out head-to-toe in protective gear toil in vast assembly halls. Before entering the inner sanctuary of the facilities, they meticulously layer on masks, gloves and special socks. A single speck of dust or a hair can have devastating effects on production. The result of all this painstaking process is an environment that is 10,000 times more purified than outside. As COVID-19 grips the world, it might just be the safest place to work right now. The teams belong to ASML Holding NV, which holds a de facto monopoly on the industry of
DBS Bank Ltd yesterday hacked its GDP growth forecast for Taiwan this year to 0.9 percent, down from its estimate of 2.3 percent two months earlier, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing financial market volatility. The bank’s latest forecast was even lower than London-based IHS Markit Ltd’s estimate of 1 percent, while other research institutes’ projections range from 1.6 percent to 2.6 percent. Taiwan’s economic momentum is being negatively affected by the pandemic, DBS said. The rapid spread of the disease from Asia to Europe and the US has dampened the bank’s previous expectation of a “V-shaped” global rebound in the
DOWNSIDE RISKS: Firms have a ‘very low’ chance of boosting investment returns in the next two years, making it hard for them to improve their capitalization, an analyst said Taiwanese life insurers wanting to improve their capital structure face strong headwinds this year, given prolonged low interest rates and economic impacts derived from trade protectionism and the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) said on Friday. The local life insurance sector also still has high asset risks and such risks are susceptible to market volatility, the local arm of Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings said. Since last year, major financial holding companies — including CTBC Financial Holding Co (中信金控), Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) and Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) — have announced plans to raise fresh capital to