America seeks to abolish GST loophole while Australian retailers continue to suffer

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) urges all Australian state governments to stop playing politics and support the closing of the LVIT loophole following yesterday’s announcement that a coalition of American local and state government officials came together to insist on Congress leveling the tax playing field by passing the ‘Marketplace Fairness’ legislation.

The Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) would bring sales taxes into the 21st century enabling local stores and online sellers to operate under the same rules. The Act helps main street businesses by allowing local and state governments to collect already-owed taxes regardless of whether a purchase is made physically in a store, on the phone or online.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said this announcement has re-ignited the GST debate and highlights the importance of Australia following suit.

“Australian retailers have been at a disadvantage for too long as the current system is outdated and does not reflect the realities of today’s marketplace.

“Unfortunately, politics had got the better of the process in Western Australia (WA), and the blame does need to be levelled at the WA State Government which is refusing to allow changes to the GST unless it gets a bigger share of the GST pie.

“The WA Government must understand the impact this tax is having on its own local retailers. This loophole is costing thousands of retail jobs in Australia – a further 33, 000 jobs will be lost by 2015 in the discretionary retail sector, having already lost 80,000 jobs since 2007.

“The ARA will not give up the fight – we will be re-engaging with all key stakeholders to once again push the case to change this unfair tax arrangement at all levels of government. We will also be sure to target those governments not acting in the best interests of their local businesses,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.                                                                          

-ends- For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call: The ARA Media Line T: 0439 612 556  E: media@retail.org.au

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