Retailers have called on the federal government to reduce the low value import threshold at this week’s Federal Tax Summit.

Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO Margy Osmond said if the government is serious about reform, lowering the threshold to $100 and enable retailers to compete on the global should be a key.

“We have taken this argument to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the retail sector and will continue to argue the case for threshold reduction in the tax forum,” she said.

Retailers were also pushing for the abolition of a range of customs duties and for complete harmonisation of payroll tax across the country, a particular issue for Australia’s leading retailers which operate across state and territory borders.

“There are a number of small taxes and duties that add up for retailers – duties that are paid on top of GST are then passed on to customers. These need to be re-examined in light of the global marketplace that retail now operates in, the government needs to work with us to assist Australian retail to take advantage of the opportunities international retailing presents for our businesses,” Osmond said.

At the same time, the ANRA said retailers will also be looking for ‘annoyance’ levies like the insurance levy which most Australians and businesses pay on their insurance policy, to be removed.

“The levy, ostensibly to fund emergency services, should be dropped as States and territories recognise emergency services as core and should be funded from their central budgets,” Osmond said.

“There are a number of nuisance levies and duties which add little to the Government’s coffers, but increase the costs of doing business in Australia for retailers. With the additional pressure to keep prices low, retailers are seeing their margins squeezed, with little hope of their costs going down.”