Well, now that Todd McClay has announced that we’re going to try and start charging GST on overseas digital transactions, I think I’ve had enough. I made a submission to IRD on this and specifically warned about the geo-unblocking considerations and the need to provide a means of voluntary compliance (otherwise people will get hit with potential ‘knowledge offences’ for having US Netflix, Hulu, or Prime). Then there’s the issue of ‘collection’ by unscrupulous sellers, who can now raise prices by 15% and never get around to actually paying IRD.
Now, I am not arrogant enough to think they’ll have given my wee submission any real thought (the purpose of consultation tends to be appearance, rather than any actual desire to engage – hence why it’s called consultation, rather than engagement, I suppose). But I’d have thought there were enough people who might think this that someone at IRD would have gone, ‘Hold on a minute…’ Apparently, that didn’t happen.
The effect is that, regardless of the tax compliance and technical considerations (enforcing this will be…interesting), National is giving in to a special interest group (retailers) (after all, they’re creating a ‘level playing field’ – not sure with whom). This doesn’t mean I don’t sympathise, but the actual group affected here will be digital service consumers and not even importers / retailers. So the real beneficiaries are going to be NZ suppliers of digital services who can now, legally, gouge and who may end up yielding lower access for us.
So I guess National has lost the plot and they really don’t need my family’s votes, apparently. Great job guys.