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Australian government proposes $7 tax for all internet shopping

The Australian government is considering adding a fee of up to $7 on all packages coming over the border to help pay for security screening.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly

That credit card could soon get a bit more of a workout.

Seamus Byrne/CNET

Great news, Australia: Internet shopping could soon be more expensive.

The federal government is reportedly considering adding a levy on all packages arriving from overseas, tacking on a AU$2 to $7 charge to cover the cost of security screening at the border.

According to the ABC, Australia's Department of Home Affairs is considering the charge to help pay for the 40 million "low value" packages that come into Australia every year.

As Australia's online shopping habit grows, the government has looked to get a slice of the pie and to make sure Aussies aren't skirting taxes and costs just because they're buying from overseas. 

But whether or not the levy is put into place, Australia's internet shopping prices are about to go up. From July 1, the Australian government will start charging GST on so-called "low-value imports" -- packages valued under AU$1,000 that have previously dodged the GST slug because they come from overseas. 

While the government might not have a tough time working with major sites like eBay and Asos to ensure the taxes are levied, critics have warned collecting GST (and indeed any other levies) from smaller online retailers will be a tough ask logistically. 

The Department of Home Affairs has been contacted for comment. 

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