Iain Blakeley

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

consumer spending

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...

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...

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...

Election 2014 – your GST vote

This weekend's New Zealand general election offers some choice in GST policy. So, if you're a GST geek like me you might be swayed by what the different parties intend doing about GST. Here's what I've been able to find out about some of the main parties' 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...

“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 and online shopping – is there a cure?

The NZ Government has delayed the Customs / IRD report on GST and online trading to allow the issue to be considered as part of the wider review of how global corporates are taxed. I think the merger of the issues was unavoidable. They are closely linked and the...

Labour Party drops GST policy on food

Labour has officially abandoned its policy to remove GST from fresh fruit and vegetables. See here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11190292 Anyone who has heard David Cunliffe speak on tax policy since he was appointed Labour's...

The GST cost of eradicating cats

Gareth Morgan wants cats to be eradicated from New Zealand. NZ Herald 22 Jan I haven't seen any analysis of the tax impact of this policy so thought I'd run some quick numbers myself. Apparently there are more than 1.4m cats in New Zealand (a world record per capita)....

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...

“Fresh fruit and vegetables”

So the Labour Party has confirmed their policy to remove GST on "fresh fruit and vegetables". This is new ground for NZ's GST policy and it will be interesting to watch the debate unfold as producers strive to get their products within the concessionary rate. For my...

How complicated can you get?

The Australian legislature has just passed some new regulations confirming parking charges, road tolls, facility hire charges, tip fees and fees for access to information are subject to GST. One thing we should be thankful for as taxpayers is that we live in a country...

Tax free shopping zone for Christchurch?

A tax free zone in Christchurch has been suggested by a new business owners' group there. I think it is a well intentioned idea which poses some reasonably big challenges in practice. The intention is to encourage businesses (and shoppers)to return to the CBD during...

Fat tax

KFC sold 16000 Double Down Burgers in the first three hours of its release in New Zealand. The NZ Government collected $16,486 of GST in three hours from one product. With similar sales levels the annual tax take from Double Downs could be more than $24,000,000. This...