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Constitutional problems in the goods and services tax

Publication date: 01 Jun 99 | Source: AUSTRALIAN TAX REVIEW

Issue: Vol 28, No 2

Pages: pp.69-80

Section 55 of the Constitution requires that laws imposing taxation shall deal with subject of taxation only. The GST is a tax on goods, services and much more. GST is imposed by only 3 acts and separate subjects of taxation for each are not clearly discernible. Senators queried the validity of the GST bills on s.55 grounds during passage but no legal advice was forthcoming from Treasury. Has the drafter found a way to evade s.55 successfully or is the treasury gambling on a generous High Court re-interpretation in favour of the Executive Government's taxing Acts? asks the author.

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