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Old 09-30-2016, 10:41 PM   #1
GeoffR
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New Zealand adds 15% GST to (some) ebooks from today

From 1 October 2016, non-resident companies selling more than $60,000 of goods and services to New Zealand consumers will be required to collect 15% GST on sales. Previously only companies resident in New Zealand were required to collect GST, although imported physical goods over $400 were taxed at the border.

GST law change for non-resident businesses supplying remote services [IRD]

'Netflix tax' to take effect from tomorrow [NZ Herald]
Quote:
Under previous law, the Government was missing out on $180 million a year by not collecting GST on online purchases, including $40 million from shopping on iTunes, Netflix, Spotify and other online services.
GST Move Good for Big Kiwi Tech Firms But Government Still Missing Out on Revenue [Booksellers NZ]

briefly checking some prices on Kobo, it appears that ebooks by small- and self-publishers have increased by exactly 15% overnight, but no change to prices of some big publishers such as Hachette, HarperCollins, and Macmillan UK who are perhaps absorbing the GST to maintain their price points.

Last edited by GeoffR; 10-01-2016 at 12:34 AM. Reason: Added Booksellers NZ link
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:30 AM   #2
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Well, good luck with that if you are from New Zealand.
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:53 AM   #3
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Not sure how they will enforce it. Be interesting to see how it goes.
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:33 AM   #4
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Seems pretty reasonable if it gives foreign sellers an unfair advantage. The EU introduced similar legislation a couple of years ago.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:32 AM   #5
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Seems pretty reasonable if it gives foreign sellers an unfair advantage. The EU introduced similar legislation a couple of years ago.
That wasn't the EU's first attempt.

Computerworld | Feb 25, 2002

http://www.computerworld.com/article...added-tax.html

I paid VAT when I bought an ebook of Lois McMaster Bujold's Memory from Fictionwise about then.

Baen ignored the whole issue.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:11 PM   #6
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Yeah, but holy buckets, 15%!? Do they have a similar charge for paperbooks? I know the big objection to taxing ebooks is that they DIDN'T also tax dead tree books. They are the same content but treated differently due to format.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:22 PM   #7
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Yeah, but holy buckets, 15%!? Do they have a similar charge for paperbooks? I know the big objection to taxing ebooks is that they DIDN'T also tax dead tree books. They are the same content but treated differently due to format.
In the UK we pay 20% on ebooks and I think 6% on paperbacks, or are they free of tax? I'm not sure.
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Old 10-01-2016, 03:27 PM   #8
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In the UK we pay 20% on ebooks and I think 6% on paperbacks, or are they free of tax? I'm not sure.
Paper books are zero rated.
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Old 10-01-2016, 03:42 PM   #9
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Paper books are zero rated.
For those of us not in the UK, please explain that term.
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Old 10-01-2016, 03:50 PM   #10
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It means that technically they are subject to VAT, but it's charged at a rate of zero. I.e. there's no tax charged on them. Legally, being zero rated for VAT is distinct from being exempt from VAT (which, for example, postal services are).

Last edited by HarryT; 10-01-2016 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:39 PM   #11
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Not sure how they will enforce it. Be interesting to see how it goes.
I am also sure that they are also not sure how "they" will enforce it :-). In fact I would be sure that they know that they cannot enforce it by any action beyond the border because they have no jurisdiction whatsoever over the tax affairs of tax non-residents.

The best view on that I have seen informally expressed from a local tax expert is that it is pretty much just a publicity stunt.
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:31 PM   #12
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Yeah, but holy buckets, 15%!? Do they have a similar charge for paperbooks? I know the big objection to taxing ebooks is that they DIDN'T also tax dead tree books. They are the same content but treated differently due to format.
Paper books were already taxed at 15%, however there are complications because tax on purchases from foreign companies is only collected at the border if the package is worth $400 or more.

In practice I guess most book purchases would be under $400, so most paper books bought from overseas retailers will still be effectively tax-free, while the same books bought from a New Zealand retailer or bought as ebooks will be taxed.
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:49 PM   #13
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Also note that in NZ, GST is applied to ALL goods and services, at one rate (15%). There are no exemptions, or lower rates on certain products or services.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:21 AM   #14
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Also note that in NZ, GST is applied to ALL goods and services, at one rate (15%). There are no exemptions, or lower rates on certain products or services.
Lucky you. In Denmark it is 25%.

Amazon.com does add 25% to ebooks, but Kobo does not. So for me Amazon is generally 25% more expensive than Kobo. Or Kobo is 20% cheaper than Amazon.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:36 AM   #15
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Seems pretty reasonable if it gives foreign sellers an unfair advantage. The EU introduced similar legislation a couple of years ago.
What's reasonable about expecting someone from another country to be an unpaid tax collector for you? What's reasonable about expecting an online seller to stay up to date and support the tax laws all over the world? Given that New Zealand isn't a particularly big market, the likely outcome is that many online stores will refuse to sell to people from New Zealand. Only the bigger companies that can afford the overhead of all the various laws will continue to do business, and they will likely raise prices to cover their cost.

Here in the US, online sellers are only required to collect taxes if they have a physical presence in the state where the buyer lives. The unfair argument is simply a rationalization for governments to grab more money. If it's a fair tax, then surely the New Zealand people will be over joyed to send a check to the New Zealand government for all the taxes they owe for online purchases.
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