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New Zealand retailers have called for legislation requiring foreign companies to register for GST, saying that avoidance of the tax by multinationals is costing the government at least NZD200m (USD138m) a year in lost revenue.
"There are massive foreign retailers operating in New Zealand today and making online sales to Kiwis who don't pay GST or duty to the government on most items they sell to New Zealanders," said Greg Harford at trade association Retail NZ. "This deprives the government of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue every year, and means that foreign firms have a competitive advantage when selling to New Zealanders."
Retail NZ said that New Zealand-based companies selling online or in retail shops have to charge up to 25 percent more than big foreign internet retailers.
Australia is introducing legislation requiring foreign companies that sell physical goods to Australians to register for GST from July 2017.
"GST registration of offshore suppliers may not be a perfect solution – but the top 20 global etailers account for two-thirds of all goods being sold to New Zealanders from overseas, and the introduction of a GST registration requirement for offshore retailers would be a significant step forward in tightening the net on tax avoidance," said Harford.
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