Hockey vs Underwood

Budget 2015: Hockey VS Underwood

Joe Hockey has Frank Underwood in his sights. Or at least 10 per cent of him.

Among a raft of revenue raising measures announced in last night’s Federal Budget, Hockey identified online retailers operating outside of Australia as key targets for a tightening of the GST.

And given Frank and his Netflix buddies reside in the US, they’re public target number one.

Of course there’s some solid economic rationale to the plan, apart from wanting to squeeze an extra couple of bucks out of your entertainment expenses, as Hockey explained.

“It is unfair that overseas based businesses selling services into Australia may not charge GST when local businesses have to charge GST,” Hockey waxed on Tuesday.

“A local business that employs Australians, pays rent in Australia, pays tax in Australia, and helps build our economy is disadvantaged by the current system.”

It’ll be tricky to enforce the GST on internationals, so exactly how they’ll go about it is unclear. But the legislation is now on the table and extends far and wide across the ecommerce landscape.

“This change will result in supplies of digital products, such as streaming or downloading of movies, music, apps, games, e-books as well as other services such as consultancy and professional services receiving similar GST treatment whether they are supplied by a local or foreign supplier.”

So when you sit down to do your own budget, factor in a few extra bucks for big Joe. That, or an Underwood-esque plan to take the top job.