Archive for the ‘GST’ Category

Businesses, get ready: GST on low value goods

Friday, May 11th, 2018

From 1 July 2018, GST will be imposed on the supply low value goods from outside of Australia to Australian consumers. Businesses need to be ready for this change.
TIP: Businesses must register for Australian GST once their annual turnover reaches $75,000, but registering is optional for businesses with lower turnover. The low value goods changes will apply from 1 July 2018 for all businesses registered for GST, whether their registration was required or they chose to register.

Under the low value goods regime, businesses that sell goods valued at A$1,000 or less to an Australian consumer (who is not registered for GST) will be liable to pay GST on those sales. GST will also apply where the business delivers or facilitates delivery of the goods into Australia.
TIP: If your business will be affected, now is the time to make sure your systems are ready to collect GST on low value sales, that your online terms and conditions are up to date, and that your website meets Australian consumer law requirements for displaying prices.

Business-to-business (B2B) sales, where a business sells low value goods to a recipient business that is registered for GST, are excluded from the regime.
TIP: The New Zealand Government has also recently proposed to levy GST on goods valued under the country’s current threshold of NZ$400.

Goods and services tax on low-value imported goods

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

From 1 July 2018, goods and services tax (GST) will apply to some offshore supplies of goods valued at $1,000 or less that are purchased by consumers and brought into Australia. The new rules are designed to create a more “level playing field” for local retailers.
The ATO has released a ruling covering GST registration issues for suppliers and other technical aspects of the new legislation. Notably, the existing rules about GST on imports valued above $1,000 are unchanged.

Bill to change residential property GST arrangements

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

A Bill has been introduced into Parliament that, when passed, will require purchasers of new residential premises and new subdivisions of potential residential land to pay the goods and services tax (GST) on the purchase directly to the ATO as part of the settlement process from 1 July 2018.
TIP: Under the current law, the supplier of the property (eg the developer) is responsible for paying the GST to the ATO when lodging a business activity statement (BAS). This can happen up to three months after settlement.
The new measure was announced in the 2017–2018 Federal Budget. It is intended to speed up the GST payment process, and to deal with the problem of some developers dissolving their business and setting up a new entity to avoid paying GST (a form of “phoenix” tax avoidance).

Fringe benefits tax: should an Uber be treated as a taxi?

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Earlier in 2017, the Federal Court ruled that UberX drivers must be registered for GST, because they supply “taxi travel”. There has been much discussion of this finding since, and the ATO is now examining whether Uber trips should be eligible for the “taxi travel” FBT exemption.

The FBT exemption, introduced in 1995, currently only applies to travel in a vehicle that is state or territory licensed to operate as a taxi. However, with the Federal Court’s decision on GST for Uber, and some recent state and territory moves towards licensing changes, the ATO has decided to review its interpretation of the definition of “taxi” in the FBT law.

TIP: Any benefit arising from taxi travel by an employee is exempt from FBT if the travel is a single trip that begins or ends at the employee’s workplace.

In a discussion paper open for comment until late October, the ATO has asked questions such as, “Should the FBT definition of ‘taxi’ be interpreted to include not just vehicles licensed to provide taxi services … [but also] ride-sourcing vehicles and other vehicles for hire?”

TIP: Any benefit arising from an employee’s taxi travel is also exempt from FBT if the travel is a result of the employee’s sickness or injury and the journey is between the employee’s workplace, residence and/or another place appropriate because of the sickness or injury.

No GST on digital currency: Bill

Friday, October 6th, 2017

The GST Act (A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999) is being amended to ensure that digital currency, such as Bitcoin, is disregarded for GST purposes unless the supply is made in exchange for a payment of money or digital currency.
To achieve this, a definition of “digital currency” will be inserted into the GST Act. Under the new definition, a digital currency has broadly the same features as state fiat currencies (legal tender). In particular, the value of a digital currency must derive from the market’s assessment of its value. A digital currency’s value cannot be based on the value of anything else, so it must not have, for example, a value pegged to Australian or United States dollars.
The currency units must be useable as consideration for any type of supply, and must be generally available to the public.
Units will not be considered digital currency if they give the holder benefits (such as memberships or vouchers), other than entitlements incidental to holding the unit or using it as consideration.
TIP: When the new definition passes into law, no GST will apply for supplies of digital currency made on or after 1 July 2017.

GST: simplified accounting for food retailers

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

The ATO has released a draft determination on the choice available to you, if you are a food retailer, to use a simplified accounting method (SAM) to help you to work out your net amount by estimating your GST-free sales and GST-free acquisitions of trading stock.
The Draft SAM is substantially the same as the previous determination it replaces. If you were eligible to use a particular SAM specified in the previous determination, you will continue to be eligible to use that SAM under the draft determination.
TIP: Are you a food retailer? We can help you to use the simplified accounting method for your business.

New draft GST guidelines issued

Monday, July 31st, 2017

Supplies through electronic distribution platforms
Draft Law Companion Guideline LCG 2017/D4 (the Draft) deals with how the ATO intends to apply the Netflix and low-value imported goods measures to supplies made through electronic distribution platforms (EDPs).
The draft guidance sets out a four-step approach for determining whether an EDP operator is responsible for GST.
Redeliverers and supplies of low-value imported goods
Draft Law Companion Guideline LCG 2017/D5 explains the measures in the Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low Value Goods) Bill 2017 (awaiting assent) that will make redeliverers responsible for GST on offshore supplies of low-value goods from 1 July 2018.
The Bill imposes GST on supplies of imported low-value goods, ie those worth less than A$1,000. Under the reforms, a redeliverer will be treated as the supplier if low-value goods are delivered outside Australia as part of the supply and the redeliverer assists with their delivery into Australia as part of, broadly, a shopping or mailbox service that it provides under an arrangement with the consumer.

“Netflix” tax: who is an Australian consumer?

Monday, July 31st, 2017

From 1 July 2017, the supply of services, digital products or rights are connected with Australia (and so potentially liable to GST) if made to an Australian consumer by an overseas-based supplier. This is referred to as the digital import or “Netflix tax” rules.
GST Ruling GSTR 2017/1 explains how overseas suppliers can decide whether a recipient of a supply is an Australian consumer. It explains what evidence suppliers should have, or what steps they should take to collect evidence, in establishing whether or not the supply is made to an Australian consumer.

Does your business import or export goods and services?

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

The ATO reminds business owners that if your business imports or exports goods or services in Australia, it is important to be aware of your GST responsibilities so you can get the information on your business activity statement (BAS) right.

Exports from Australia are generally GST-free, but special conditions apply in some situations. For example, if it takes longer than 60 days for you to receive payment for your exports, then GST could be charged.

When importing, you are generally required to pay GST (10% of the value of the taxable importation). This GST is usually paid to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Service before the goods are released, unless you are part of the deferred GST (DGST) scheme.

TIP: Talk to us to find our more about your GST obligations. The ATO accepts voluntary disclosures about mistakes in GST reporting, and you may find your business is eligible for the DGST scheme.

GST on low-value imported goods

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

A Bill introduced into Parliament in February proposes to make Australian goods and services tax (GST) payable on supplies of items worth less than A$1,000 (known as “low value goods”) that consumers import into Australia with the assistance of the vendor who sells the items. For example, GST would apply when you buy items worth less than $1,000 online from an overseas store and the seller arranges to post them to you in Australia.

Under the proposed measures, sellers, operators of electronic distribution platforms or redeliverers (such as parcel-forwarding services) would be responsible for paying GST on these types of transactions. The GST could also be imposed on the end consumer by reverse charge if they claim to be a business (so the overseas supplier charges no GST) but in fact use the goods for private purposes. If the Bill is passed, the measures would come into force on 1 July 2017.

TIP: The ATO has also released a Draft Law Companion Guideline that discusses how to calculate the GST payable on a supply of low-value goods, the rules to prevent double taxation of goods and how the rules interact with other rules for supplies connected with Australia.


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