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Old 03-20-2010, 05:41 AM   #31
Gwen Morse
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No, GST only is applied for items purchased domestically. I buy a lot of items online for my hobby as they are not available here readily in Australia. I have never been asked by the ATO to pay GST on them or been asked to pay customs for that matter either,
You can be asked to pay customs fees for items shipped to Australia. I visited several years ago and arranged to have an expensive present shipped from the US to the host family concurrent with my visit.

My host went to the post office to pick up the package. Imagine my horror and embarrassment when I discovered he had to pay $100 AU in "customs tariff" fees to collect it. I did insist on paying him back, but, I always felt it tainted what was meant to be a thoughtful gesture.

It's good for you that you've never been charged but it could happen to someone in the future.
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:41 AM   #32
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Just that they rarely check your bags unless it's patently obvious you went on a buying spree in Hong Kong or someplace known for the good shopping.
Cheers,
Bev
You obviously haven't been to HK in a long time. Nowadays, when you return to your country, customs will probably say "poor guy, you have overpaid so much, we will give you a break on those taxes".
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:07 AM   #33
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Fictionwise's 10% probably apply to Americans.. In Australia the figure is more than likely 90%
For FW they maintain that there is little restriction for US...a little more for CA, with the bulk of the 10% being the rest of the world. (don't know about Australia).

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The point about tax is not that geo restrictions are justified by some quirk of taxation, but rather that once such restrictions have been applied, circumventing them might avoid paying tax which you should pay according to local laws. So the case you cite is annoying, and seems unjustified, but if you pretend to be in the US to circumvent the geo restriction, the side-effect that VAT is not paid could be a problem.
I can buy non-geo books from FW, and there are more than I originally thought - a lot depends on the author/publisher - at least one net effect of this is that I have now discovered 'new' authors to read.

I buy using my UK address & credit card, the price stays the same; all I am charged extra for is a minimal currency transaction. so whether the book is or is not geo-restricted, the tax issue is seemingly not addressed (though there is probably a US sales tax in the price, so I am probably helping to shore up the US tax system rather than the UK's.....)
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Old 03-20-2010, 08:02 AM   #34
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I buy using my UK address & credit card, the price stays the same; all I am charged extra for is a minimal currency transaction. so whether the book is or is not geo-restricted, the tax issue is seemingly not addressed (though there is probably a US sales tax in the price, so I am probably helping to shore up the US tax system rather than the UK's.....)
If the point of sale is in the UK it should be the UK VAT that the seller should charge you.
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Old 03-20-2010, 08:24 AM   #35
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If the point of sale is in the UK it should be the UK VAT that the seller should charge you.
perhaps, but the price given on US sites don't appear to recognise my location....
the price before placing in basket is the same as when paid for, even if I'm not logged in...
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Old 03-20-2010, 08:25 AM   #36
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doh ...

point of sale is in the US - there are few UK e-tailers that I use, the price being one main reason....geo-restriction still occurs in the UK!
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Old 03-20-2010, 09:27 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Gwen Morse View Post
You can be asked to pay customs fees for items shipped to Australia. I visited several years ago and arranged to have an expensive present shipped from the US to the host family concurrent with my visit.

My host went to the post office to pick up the package. Imagine my horror and embarrassment when I discovered he had to pay $100 AU in "customs tariff" fees to collect it. I did insist on paying him back, but, I always felt it tainted what was meant to be a thoughtful gesture.

It's good for you that you've never been charged but it could happen to someone in the future.
It used to be anything imported with a value over $250 had a customs tax added to it. That figure has now been increased to $1000. Those figures are based upon the premise that the item being imported is for personal use. If an item, regardless of value, is being imported for resale, then the item gets customs tax added to it regardless.
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:13 AM   #38
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doh ...

point of sale is in the US - there are few UK e-tailers that I use, the price being one main reason....geo-restriction still occurs in the UK!
It has been repeatedly claimed here that the reason that you cannot by an E-book from the US in the same way as you can buy the paper book is that the point of sale for E-books is at the place the buyer are.

But maybe that is just a contractual definition and maybe have nothing to do with VAT.
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:32 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by bevdeforges View Post
(There is no exemption for a "gift" - we've wound up paying VAT on gifts our American friends carefully marked as such.)
There is a higher threshold for paying VAT on gifts, though.


Ben - So keep purchases under ú18. Then there's no problem.
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Old 03-20-2010, 02:37 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by tompe View Post
It has been repeatedly claimed here that the reason that you cannot by an E-book from the US in the same way as you can buy the paper book is that the point of sale for E-books is at the place the buyer are.

But maybe that is just a contractual definition and maybe have nothing to do with VAT.
But you CAN buy ebooks from a US store (legally) - I am still doing it! Don't forget it's only a "small" number that are (currently) geo-restricted....
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:02 PM   #41
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But you CAN buy ebooks from a US store (legally) - I am still doing it! Don't forget it's only a "small" number that are (currently) geo-restricted....
That you can buy it just say that they can sell it. It does not say that the store pay the correct VAT. It is like the situation in EU a couple of years ago when a lot of stores tried to avoid to pay the VAT in the country of the buyer which they had to to if they sold over a specific limit to the country. Now it seems that big sellers like amazon.co.uk handle that better and charge the buyers VAT.
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:54 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by DawnFalcon View Post
Ben - So keep purchases under ú18. Then there's no problem.
OK, let's say for the sake of argument that this is allowed, so that I'm not breaking VAT laws by, for example, buying from Amazon.com using a US address for goods under ú18. What about the fact that I'd not be telling the truth? Isn't there a problem about obtaining goods under false pretenses?

I'm not talking about any moral issues, rather about whether there are legal problems.
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:22 PM   #43
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Okay, firstly something is either a consignment or a gift. You are not liable for reporting and paying VAT on items under ú18. See here. This does not mean that companies within the EU (and others, by treaty*) do not have to charge you VAT, but that VAT has to be included within the price of the purchase in those cases.
You are, in this case, incorrect.

The page you've linked to is for international post users. It does not apply to digital delivery. There is no small consignment waiver for digital delivery of goods.

See http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs...610_en.htm#a10
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:32 PM   #44
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I suspect that you're right - the generic FAQ on this subject goes something like:

Q: Aren't there some cases where it's OK not to pay tax?
A: No.

The other relevant FAQ is:

Q: If the rules of your business are clearly insane, is it OK if I go around?
A: Sure, go ahead and lie to us and we'll happily do what you think is right.
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:53 PM   #45
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That you can buy it just say that they can sell it. It does not say that the store pay the correct VAT. It is like the situation in EU a couple of years ago when a lot of stores tried to avoid to pay the VAT in the country of the buyer which they had to to if they sold over a specific limit to the country. Now it seems that big sellers like amazon.co.uk handle that better and charge the buyers VAT.
The stores don't actually pay VAT - they just charge it and collect it. But yes, amazon and others do collect VAT now (which is why I try to look for smaller stores that doesn't collect it - what with the high Danish VAT rate, etc.). As far as I know, I ought to pay import tax and VAT for anything I buy outside EU, but with downloads and such of course you don't. Now I feel tempted to try find out what would happen if I did indeed try to pay tax for an ebook bought in USA Would probably involve a lot of fees....
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