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On Wednesday 12 February 2014, Matthew Nicholls CTA (Ernst & Young) attended the second meeting of the GST Advisory Group. A range of issues were discussed at the meeting including:

  • The purpose of the GST Advisory group including its focus on being stewardship committee that has a role in ensuring that the ATO is properly administering the GST legislation and is fully aware of, and responding to, and risks that could arise in relation to GST administration;
  • Issues arising from the MBI Properties case, including how the ATO should respond following a decision by the High Court in due course. The ATO wanted to know if taxpayers were taking advantage of the Federal Court’s decision to date;
  • Issues arising from the AP Group case including a number of similarities between incentives and rebates paid in the motor vehicle industry and those paid in other industries. While the ATO noted that there were similarities, the ATO stood by the statement contained in the AP Group Decision Impact Statement that it was not intending on reviewing the treatment of these payments in other industries;
  • Un-enacted GST-related measures including draft legislation in relation to the measures that are proceeding will be released shortly for consultation and the fate of the measures where the Government has decided not to proceed with them;
  • Certain difficulties some taxpayers face in identifying that they are the taxpayer in the GST context, in particular in the context of some partnership and trust situations. The ATO noted there were rulings and other guidance that address  this issue; and
  • Opportunities for reducing “red tape” in the GST context.

Members are encouraged to send through to us comments regarding whether they have applied the Federal Court Decision in MBI Properties and whether they have any suggestions for red tape reduction in the GST context. Members who have comments to provide or who seek further information in relation to the above should contact us at Tax Policy.