17 Mar 2015

Government looks at online shopping tax

1:02 pm on 17 March 2015

The Government is considering imposing its own way of taxing online purchases overseas if international efforts to clamp down on the practice do not happen quickly enough.

Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand missed out on more than $200 million a year in GST on purchases made online, and that figure was rising.

Mr Key said the Government was still committed to the process being undertaken by the club of developed countries, the OECD, to ensure tax was paid on goods consumers bought online from other countries.

But it was also looking at what it could do alone if the OECD did not make progress.

"It feels harder. I haven't seen, you know because the advice hasn't been developed yet for New Zealand alone. But the minister said to me he's just looking at a few issues or a few options there," Mr Key said.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little supports the Government's initiative.

Mr Little said people buying online from overseas sites without paying GST was unfair on local retailers and suppliers who had to charge the tax.

"So to level the playing field I think it is appropriate that we find a way to levy GST off those retail transactions that are done through our credit card system but from overseas suppliers."

Mr Little said as more retail went online the loss in tax income for the Government would get bigger.

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