'Netflix tax' bill hits parliament

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'Netflix tax' bill hits parliament

Digital goods bought from overseas to get GST.

The federal government has introduced draft legislation that would see the goods and services tax applied to digital products purchased from overseas.

It follows the release last October of a revised exposure draft of the proposed legislation.

The Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Bill 2016, should it be passed, would see the GST added on to all digital products sold into Australia by overseas vendors by July next year.

Products captured under the law would include digital music, applications, games, e-books, movies (streamed and downloaded) as well as consultancy and professional services, the bill states.

The government expects the move will reap it $350 million over four years, to be passed on to the states.

Treasurer Scott Morrison today said the changes would bring the tax system up to date with the 21st century economy.

"The Turnbull government is committed to modernising our tax laws to ensure they are fit-for-purpose in the digital era and do not create an unfair advantage for foreign companies," he said in a statement.

"Australia's GST law needs to adapt to the growth of the international digital economy."

Companies that sell more than $75,000 worth of products into Australia would need to register their products with the ATO for GST collection. The request will also be made to not-for-profits selling $150,000 worth of goods.

The government expects around 100 overseas digital vendors will register with the ATO.

Where sales are made through electronic marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, the platform operator will hold liability for GST rather than the product vendor, the draft law states.

The draft legislation is coupled with the government's policy decision to remove the $1000 GST-free threshold for online goods by mid 2017.

The initiatives form part of its wider efforts to stamp out tax avoidance by multinationals operating in Australia.

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