Harvey Norman has set up an online store hosted in Ireland in attempt to avoid the payment of GST on sales on electrical goods.
The Ireland-based “direct import store” sells computer games exclusively to Australian residential addresses without charging the goods and services tax. Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey expects to broaden the range of goods on sale in Ireland over time.
Harvey has argued that Australian retailers are at a disadvantage because Australians are not charged GST on goods valued at under $1000 purchased from offshore e-tailers. His calls for a review of the GST in January fell on deaf ears.
Harvey Norman had a very belated entry to the e-tail market, opening its first Australian e-commerce site in April.
After spending months discussing how difficult trading conditions are for Australian retailers, Harvey purchased some $1 million of shares in Harvey Norman on Wednesday.
Today Australia’s Treasurer and acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan told ABC Radio Melbourne that he “can't remember a Christmas where Gerry Harvey wasn't whingeing.”