ATA behind global campaign to stop online sales tax

The ATA has stood behind an international coalition to oppose online shopping taxes to be added to the taxpayer bill. The Australian published a recent article detailing the extent of ATA involvement in the global campaign below:

"Plans to impose an online shopping tax on overseas goods have become a magnet for the global network of firebrand libertarian and anti-tax activists, including a confidant of former president ­Ronald Reagan who aided anti-Soviet guerilla armies and a ­corruption fighter from war-torn Ukraine.

A group of 17 organisations, led by Grover Norquist of the highly influential US lobby group Americans for Tax Reform, has signed an open letter to the government, and also aimed at the opposition and minor parties, to reject proposed legislation to place the GST on goods valued below $1000, which are mostly bought online from sites such as Amazon and eBay.

Co-ordinated locally by Tim Andrews, executive director at the Australian Taxpayers Alliance, the idea of placing a GST on low-value goods has sparked a global tidal wave of anger from the international anti-tax community.

It has even attracted the ire of Maryan Zablotskyy, head and co-founder of Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation, whose ­nation is locked in a war with ­Russia, and Rocio Guijarro Saucedo, from Venezuela’s Cedice Libertad, who lives in a failed communist state where the population faces food shortages and daily violence.

Mr Andrews told The Australian that Mr Norquist was first ­approached about the government’s GST on low-value goods when the US tax reform advocate was the keynote speaker at the Friedman Liberty Conference in Sydney in late April.

Following that conference Mr Andrews co-ordinated with Mr Norquist’s chief of staff to sign the open letter, which appeared in Wednesday’s The Australian and that attracted a host of other ­libertarian luminaries.

Gaining Mr Norquist’s signature is a huge coup. Mr Norquist is a doyen of the Republican Party, having volunteered for Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign and been asked by Reagan to form Americans for Tax Reform. He is a director of the National Rifle Association of America.

In the 1980s Mr Norquist also travelled to war zones to support anti-Soviet guerilla armies and joined Colonel Oliver North in spreading the “Reagan doctrine’’ to Nicaragua, Afghanistan and Angola.

“We reached out to taxpayer associations throughout the world to ask them if they would be interested in signing a letter, which they all signed, and from that letter it was summarised into the newspaper advert.

“Grover was actually in Australia at one of my conferences several weeks ago … I spoke to his chief of staff and he (Grover) said ‘yes’ to signing the letter,’’ Mr ­Andrews said.

Fighting back, the Australian Retailers Association has also ­issued its own open letter and newspaper advert calling for the legislation to be passed to give what it calls a “fair go” for all ­retailers, especially as they compete with overseas websites that do not attract the GST on goods below $1000.

The legislation was set to come before the Senate last night. The low-value threshold GST, which passed parliament’s lower house yesterday, is set to start on July 1.

Labor, while giving the proposal in-­principle support, wants to postpone it by a year, as ­recommended by a Senate committee.

Meanwhile, German discount supermarket chain Aldi has signed the Australian government’s voluntary tax transparency code, which will provide a better picture of the highly ­secretive family-owned group’s finances in Australia and the level of tax it pays locally."

 

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