Monday, August 24, 2015

When is a book not a book? (for GST & VAT)

Photo credit: Roberto_Ventre / Foter / CC BY-SA
Australia has just followed the United Kingdom in explicitly not exempting imported e-books or audio-books from goods and services tax (GST).  In both countries conventional hardback and paperback books are exempt from tax as being "activities in the public interest". 

The double standard is fairly obvious. It is based on "intangibility" of format, not the actual function or benefit of the product. It is easier to scrape all digital products together and make a money-grab than uphold the principle of fair and responsible taxation that focuses on the benefits society as a whole.

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