Iain Blakeley

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

Australian GST

Australia considers $20 import threshold

It looks like Australia will reduce its $1,000 low value import threshold to $20. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/gst-on-lowvalue-imported-parcels-moving-closer-20150721-gihfgy.html This issue has been around for ages. The main objection to a...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

At least it’s a start

There's a lot of chatter about South Africa's proposed law requiring foreign businesses to charge VAT on sales of digital products to South African residents. If passed the law will cover things like music, videos, software and games sold on line. At the moment, like...

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,...

If they take it, have you “supplied” it?

The Inland Revenue Department has published a draft view on whether a GST "supply" occurs when land is compulsorily taken by a Public Authority under the Public Works Act. At issue is whether a compulsory acquisition of land results in a "supply" being made by the...

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....

Who’s making submissions?

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who is considering making a submission in response to the latest discussion document from Inland Revenue on GST. They are looking for feedback on the suggestion of loosening the rules for overseas businesses wanting to recover GST...

Eating Australian style

The Australian Tax Office has updated their GST Food List. The 86 page Food List details from 'A' to 'Z' the GST treatment of hundreds of food items. It is necessary because in Australia some foods are subject to GST and some are not. For example, a fruit bun with a...

Capital gains tax

I know it's wishful thinking to expect real analysis in political debates but, honestly, whether it's time to introduce a capital gains tax in New Zealand is an issue which deserves more than the usual ping pong game of political rhetoric. The refrain of the most...