07 Dec 09 Vacant land was not “residential premises” - Vidler
The Federal Court (Stone J) has held that two parcels of vacant land were not “residential premises” as defined in s 195-1 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth) (GST Act), and, as such, the sale of the two parcels was not input taxed for GST purposes.
In dismissing the taxapayer's appeal from an adverse decision of the AAT, her Honour said, at para 19:
"In oral submissions for the Commissioner it was suggested that should I find in favour of the [Commissioner], it was open to me to rule that vacant land can never be considered “residential premises” for the purpose of the GST Act. While it is difficult for me to envisage a scenario in which such a characterisation would be plausible, I am not inclined to make so expansive a ruling. The view I have expressed in [South Steyne Hotel Pty Ltd v FCT  FCA 13; (2009) 71 ATR 228 at - ], that an element of shelter and basic living facilities are required to satisfy the definition of residential premises, has been approved by a Full Court. Recognition of that requirement was sufficient to dispose of the particular issue in South Steyne and is also sufficient to dispose of the present application. It may be that other circumstances will show that while necessary, this requirement is not sufficient. It is neither necessary nor appropriate for me to attempt to anticipate such circumstances."
Vidler v FCT  FCA 1426 (Federal Court, Stone J, 3 December 2009).
For a copy of the decision, go here