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eBook Prices Could Increase in Australia on 1 July

Australia’s tax laws are going to change in a few days, but I don’t see this being discussed widely in author circles.

The Passive Voice blog posted a notice from Amazon Publishing yesterday which brought the change to my attention:

Due to new legislation in Australia, a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10% will be levied on all eBooks and audiobooks sold to customers residing in Australia beginning July 1, 2017. The royalty rates in your contract with Amazon Publishing are unchanged (as royalties are paid exclusive of GST).Amazon Publishing will not be changing its prices in connection with GST at this time.

The change in tax laws was first announced in August 2015, and it affects online sales by overseas sellers, so authors with books in KDP or audiobooks in Audible will be affected.

What’s odd, though, is that I do not see any mention of Australia’s GST in KDP support pages or on its forum.

Was Amazon already collecting Australian GST on ebook sales, do you know?

image by Flying Cloud


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Maria (BearMountainBooks) June 29, 2017 um 1:49 pm

There’s nothing on the dashboard about it. In those countries with a VAT, Amazon gives a price we set (or they calculate based on the US price–the author chooses) and then there’s a "without VAT" that shows next to it. That way we know when the VAT is included or not. Australia does not show anything about the tax.

So: the UK has a book VAT. I set the price to 3.99. The price shows without that next to is as: 3.32. If I want to actually charge 3.99 and get my percentage based on that, I have to raise the 3.99 to cover the VAT: Change to 4.79. and the "without VAT" shows as 3.99.

I’ll have to look in the specs to see if they are charging the 10 percent already. They may handle it like the VAT where the author has to add back in to cover it or just eat the VAT charge.

Nate Hoffelder June 29, 2017 um 9:06 pm

thanks for the confirmation.

It’s so weird that Amazon hasn’t announced changes.

Angela Booth June 30, 2017 um 2:01 am

Amazon HAS notified authors, via email. I doubt whether I’m the only AU author to be notified. Nothing’s sure except death and taxes etc… Received two email messages from KDP. One a month ago, one recently. (Sigh) Authors with an ABN need to notify Amazon, and Amazon has it under control… 🙂

FWIW, only Australian authors and readers are affected. GST has no effect anywhere else.

Nate Hoffelder June 30, 2017 um 7:41 am

"only Australian authors and readers are affected"

I’m not sure that’s true.

This change is known as the Netflix tax, and Netflix is not an Australian company. It is in the same position as foreign authors, so I don’t see how this could not affect everyone.

Angela Booth July 1, 2017 um 2:40 am

Sorry to correct you, but yes, it’s true. It’s not a "Netflix tax" it’s a Goods and Services Tax (GST) like the UK VAT.

While Netflix is a US company, it operates in Australia which is why we poor Aussies pay GST to an American company… because the AU government insists that companies collect GST from AU people. Like Amazon is a US company, but we get to pay GST to Amazon, who pays it to the AU government. Like Netflix. And Google…

Only Australians are affected, no one else.

Most companies which operate here charge GST, aside from companies selling things which are exempt, like food.

Anon June 30, 2017 um 4:25 am

Unfortunately, taxes like this tend only to benefit the pirate Websites at the expense of the author.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) June 30, 2017 um 11:24 am

I checked with another Australian author and she knew nothing about it and said the article was bogus (that’s kind of a murky statement and didn’t tell me much).

No idea, but I never received any notification about any changes from Amazon or Kobo (both dashboards show whether VATS are included or not)

Nate Hoffelder June 30, 2017 um 12:18 pm

this is getting stranger and stranger, because the change does apply to ebooks:

Passed in May 2016 as part of the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Act 2016, the Netflix tax will apply the 10 percent GST to all imported digital products, such as TV series, films, apps, songs, podcasts, e-books and games, and services. That means it also applies to services like Spotify. Local companies are already subject to GST, so the tax effectively just closes a loophole for global companies.

I don’t see how ebooks in the Kindle Store could be excluded.

Mike D June 30, 2017 um 7:23 pm ebook prices say

Kindle Price: xx.xx
includes tax, if applicable


Maybe they always did if sold from Australia.

Mal Fields June 30, 2017 um 10:27 pm

I checked an Amazon Aust eBook sale from 2 days ago and within my online account orders it clearly shows

Item(s) Subtotal: $4.99
Total Before Tax: $4.99
Tax Collected: $0.00
Total for this order: $4.99

So, no tax included before July 1st.


Just ordered another which was $4.99 2 days ago and this is what I see
Item(s) Subtotal: $4.54
Total Before Tax: $4.54
Tax Collected: $0.45
Total for this order: $4.99

So presumably Amazon are paying the tax themselves, at least for now. Seems too good to be true? I agree..but there you go.

If it was included before then I think by law they must state it was so.

Stephen Cole July 4, 2017 um 10:46 am

Nate, Amazon has avoided this tax for years. This change finally brings Amazon into line with Australian booksellers, who have had to levy this tax on ebook sales for many years. It is outrageous that the AU government allowed the US megacorp to sell ebooks to Australians at a 10% price advantage for so long.

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