Since Malaysia has just implemented GST, how about learning a bit more about it? We can learn from Australia which implemented the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the year 2000. That’s about 15 years ago. It would seem that they should have learnt many more things about GST, especially against companies which may have evaded the GST? Well, it’s quite straightforward for traditional companies which are fully registered and licensed. What about internet companies which may not be operating within Australia but derives a lot of its income from Australia? A few examples quoted by Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey recently included digital companies like Apple Inc, Google Inc, Alibaba Group Holding and Uber.
He specifically wanted them to pay more tax if the transactions take place in Australia. He said, “I want to find a way for them to pay the GST. We’re not collecting the revenue that we should be collecting and that we want to collect, that is fair.” Hockey further said that the tax for Australian companies which is at 30% is way too high and this is being threatened by online-based companies. In fact currently, Australia’s GST is just 10% and is said to be lowest amongst all developed countries.
I think the steps taken by Australia, if they can really get the companies stated to pay more would be closely adopted by many other countries. I am quite sure even countries like Singapore or Thailand are not getting much GST from many of these online businesses which are not operating within the country. I am not sure how this can be done though if the companies truly has no office and has just a website which can be accessible from anywhere in the world. Imagine I log on to the website, buys my stuffs and the company sends to me from overseas. The customs may have to be very alert to catch that delivery in order for them to levy some GST on the stuffs that I bought?
Oh yeah, all the companies he mentioned are the same companies operating in many countries in the world. Perhaps even in majority of all countries today. Just look at what happened when Alibaba was listed. Jack Ma was propelled into the super league of world billionaires. However, if Alibaba is already taxed at the country that it has its offices in today, I am not sure if that country would like to share that with Australia. Let’s continue to follow this and see what happens in the near future.
written on 3 Apr 2015
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