Iain Blakeley

Barrister - Tax Expert - Business Adviser - Director, Professional, Practical, Fast, Affordable

Australia

Australia leads NZ 2 – 0

The Australian Government looks likely to change its GST treatment of digital currencies. In NZ we're left wondering what our Government's position is. This is the second time in about as many weeks Australia has taken steps to...

Australia jumps ahead of NZ in taxing digital commerce

The Australian Government has released draft legislation proposing to apply GST to downloads and streaming of digital content and other services supplied from offshore to Australian consumers. This will affect media such as games, movies, e-books and music downloaded...

GST heat goes on internet sales

Debate is turning into action over taxing internet sales. The Australian Treasurer told media at the Council on Federal Financial Relations Meeting in Canberra on 9 April his Government will require overseas companies selling intangibles into Australia to register and...

Govt raises stakes for online shoppers

The NZ Prime Minister says his government will go it alone if the OECD doesn't move quickly enough to impose GST or VAT on online sales. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11418586 The fact the Prime Minister is raising this now is...

It wouldn’t happen in New Zealand – or would it?

An Australian court says a taxpayer has not commenced a subdivision activity until they have the funds needed to purchase the land. The costs spent beforehand on planning permits and market valuations were preliminary or preparatory to starting any business. That's...

Australian Tax Office rules on Bitcoin

The ATO has just issued a ruling on the GST treatment of Bitcoin. Here: http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?docid=%22GST%2FGSTR20143%2FNAT%2FATO%2F00001%22 In brief: 1. A transfer of bitcoin is a "supply" for GST purposes. 2. Bitcoin is not "money" under the GST...

12 GST thoughts of Christmas

12 GST thoughts of Christmas: 1. There's no GST on gifts (so Santa is probably not GST registered). 2. GST registered businesses can claim back the GST on gifts they buy for staff, suppliers and customers. 3. If you buy someone a gift voucher for Christmas it's quite...

Good news for Australian tiramisu lovers

The Australian Tax Office publishes a detailed food list which, over 88 pages, gives their opinion on the GST status of everything from abalone to zabaglione. Tiramisu was on the list as subject to GST. However, on 27 August the Tax Office removed tiramisu from the...

Visiting sports teams

The recent publicity about AFL players being pinged for income tax as "entertainers" when they played the Anzac Day matches here is interesting. See here: http://www.3news.co.nz/Wellington-AFL-game-hit-with-tax/tabid/415/articleID/355731/Default.aspx Like everything...

Global VAT alignment edges closer

At the Global Forum on VAT in Tokyo last week 86 countries signed up to the first agreed framework for applying VAT to internationally traded services and intangibles. The new guidelines set out core VAT principles to be applied when taxing services and intangibles,...

“Australia should follow NZ GST”?

NZ's GST is certainly the most efficient form of VAT in the world. The "VAT Revenue Ratio" is used by the OECD as a measure of VAT efficiency. The average in the OECD is about 50%. The least efficient is Turkey's VAT at about 30%. NZ ranks top at a little more than...

12 GST thoughts of Christmas

12 GST thoughts of Christmas: 1. There's no GST on gifts (so Santa is probably not GST registered). 2. GST registered businesses can claim back the GST on gifts they buy for staff, suppliers and customers. 3. If you buy someone a gift voucher for Christmas it's quite...

GST refund claims: keep it real.

You can't claim GST back on an expense unless you actually receive whatever it is you are paying for. That's the message from the Australian Federal Court in a decision released on 1 November [Professional Admin Service Centres Pty Ltd v FC of T]. In that case the...

Time to make GST compliance easier?

The Australian Labor Party has announced that from 1 July 2014 businesses with turnover of less than $20m will be able to lodge their GST activity statements annually http://www.alp.org.au/cutting_red_tape_reducing_the_burden_of_the_gst. That's ten times the current...

Commonsense prevails: well almost

Yesterday the Australian Tax Office issued a practice statement explaining when it would overlook an incorrect GST input claim made by a business. You can read it here On the face of it the practice statement reeks of commonsense. The supplier wrongly applies GST to...

Vendor financing

Useful recent Australian tax case on GST and vendor loans. Mathiesen Family Trust v FC of T [2013] ATC 10-327, 15 July 2013. The taxpayer agreed to sell land for $3.5m. The purchaser could only pay $2m on settlement and borrowed the balance of $1.5m from the vendor,...

Starting a new business?

If you're thinking about starting a new business be careful how much you spend on "preparatory and exploratory" work. An Australian tax court has just concluded that a couple could not claim back GST on "preparatory and exploratory" expenditure because their business...

Good news for non resident businesses

Non resident businesses looking to establish supply chains into New Zealand have to go through hoops to register for GST here and recover the GST on their NZ expenses. Often it means they're at a disadvantage when compared to businesses established in New Zealand....