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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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Author profiles

David Cominos CTA
David is a tax partner with Clayton Utz Brisbane and has been involved in structuring, documenting and advising upon many forms of purchase and sale of business interests. He is a member of the State Council and National Technical Committee of the Taxation Institute and the National CGT Liaison Committee. - Current at 06 March 2003
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Dr Terence Dwyer CTA
Dr Terry Dwyer graduated with honours in Arts and Economics from Sydney University and earned his PhD from Harvard University in the history of taxation theory. He has been a Fellow of The Tax Institute since the 1970s. Terry has had wide experience in advising on tax policy in the Australian Federal Treasury, Prime Minister’s Department and Economic Planning Advisory Council. During that time, he was a Cabinet notetaker in the 1985 Tax Summit and Secretary of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Retirement Incomes. He has subsequently advised Australian and international clients, including other governments and was an adviser to Senator Brian Harradine during the Senate GST debate. As the principal of Dwyer Lawyers since 2008, he now advises private clients on estate planning, asset protection, business and tax planning. He has represented clients in tax and superannuation litigation. - Current at 04 February 2020
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