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Keywords: einvoicing, e-invoicing, electronic invoicing, tax revenues, e-invoicing records, falsified invoices, Australian Retailers Association
Sarah Feurey | News | 12 June 2012
Falsified invoices are thought to be costing the Australian government millions of dollars in lost tax revenues because of the work of rogue international online retailers.
Some, like Hong Kong electronics firm eGlobal, have been offering to provide incorrect costing details to help customers avoid the Goods and Service Tax (GST) that applies on imported items priced AU $1,000 (£640) or more.
In one example used by The Australian, a consumer can save around $300 in GST on a $1,900 camera because of falsified invoices.
And according to SmartCompany, another inadvertently avoided GST when a $2,000 rug shipped in from Europe had a “goods of sample quality of $90” tag on the parcel.
Ministers may now look into introducing e-invoicing records as a standard procedure to help ensure numbers are correct and stamp out the problem of falsified costs.
Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, says that the government is now aware of the problem, but warned nobody knows how much it is costing the country.
He told SmartCompany: "We are working closely with government and the task force and we are hoping that this will be captured and there will be a far more vigilant assessment done on these goods.
"The states are losing out on $650m worth of tax that is not being collected on what we currently know is coming through on a threshold set at $1,000. How much more is being lost because various goods are being brought in which are undervalued?"
Mr Zimmerman added that the problem looks like it is particularly problematic from China, where goods are being sent into Australia at a lower cost than they are worth.
It comes as other ministers look at expanding their use of e-invoicing, with Austria becoming the latest to say that all government invoices must be electronic by 2014.
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