Iain Blakeley

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

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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...

Overseas companies avoiding GST?

Simon Moutter, Spark's MD, says overseas companies like Netflix are avoiding GST. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11422160 He has a point, and it's not news really. But the debate grows as more New Zealand businesses feel the...

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...

Bodies corporate GST status to be clarified

Legislation introduced yesterday will clarify the GST status of bodies corporate. Here's the press release: http://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/news/2015-02-26-bill-clarifies-gst-bodies-corporate-rules This issue has some history. In the past Inland Revenue took the view...

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...

Fishing quota and coastal permits

Inland Revenue has confirmed GST second hand goods credits cannot be claimed on the purchase of fishing quota, coastal permits and certificates of compliance. Two binding rulings (BR 15/01 and 15/02) just released by the tax department conclude fishing quota, coastal...

Charges for failing to turn up to parties

A parent in the UK invoiced the parents of a five year old GBP15.95 because their son failed to turn up to a birthday party after they had accepted the invitation on his behalf. See the story here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cornwall-30876360 They're...

Governments using lotteries to collect tax

Tax collectors in the EU are looking more closely at the use of lotteries to tackle VAT evasion. This paper, just published, discusses how existing lottery schemes work and reveals there could be upside for governments. It concludes more empirical evidence is needed...

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...

Savings up + GST collections down = GST rate up?

Kiwi households are saving more than at any time since 1995 according to the latest national accounts. http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/household-savings-rate-positive-five-years The flip side is with low inflation and lower consumption the Government's GST take is...

IRD comments on short term Christchurch rentals

Inland Revenue's latest Business Tax Update reminds us people renting out houses in Christchurch short-term have to pay income tax on the rent, less deductions. It's a pity they don't mention GST because that's more interesting. The update is here:...

Certainty in construction

Planning ahead and attention to detail in contractual documentation are essential for retirement village operators wanting clarity of what GST costs they are up for. That was the key GST message at this week's Retirement Villages Association finance forum focussing on...

Time to tidy up the GST Act?

The GST Act needs to be tidied up and made more user-friendly in my view. I read the GST Act every day. Sad, I know. Anyway, it used to be pretty simple to navigate around but lately I've been finding it a bit more of a challenge. (No smart comments about aging...

28 October deadline for non-residents

Non-residents wishing to register under the special GST registration system have until 28 October to ensure their registration (and refund claims) are backdated to 1 April 2014. All non-resident businesses who have incurred costs in New Zealand and who are not already...

GST and tips

Some discussion lately on tips and GST. It's become more common for eftpos devices to offer customers a tipping option when paying their bills. The GST implications of this are more complex than the old-fashioned method of slipping a bit of extra cash to the staff...

Taxing energy drinks unconstitutional

A recent decision in France has concluded a government tax on energy drinks contravenes the country's constitution. Under France's tax laws a tax was imposed on energy drinks with at least 220 mg of caffeine per 1,000 ml. The tax was challenged and the Constitutional...