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Currently, online sales of less than Aus$1000 are not subject to Australia’s general 10% goods and services tax (GST).

The government says that removing the threshold on July 1 would level the playing field to ensure Australian businesses ‘do not continue to be unfairly disadvantaged by the current GST exemption’.

The head of eBay’s operations in Australia and New Zealand, Jooman Park, has claimed the plan to tax all goods sold by overseas businesses was “complex, inconsistent, unworkable and would harm Australian consumers”.

He added: “Regrettably, the government’s legislation may force eBay to prevent Australians from buying from foreign sellers.”

He instead suggested shipping companies should be responsible for the tax.

Canberra rare books dealer Sally Burdon told ATG that a change in the law would have a minor impact on professional dealers (who can claim back any tax when the item is resold) but the extra 10% charge would “impact the many Australian online buyers of relatively low value objects”.