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On 17 October 2014, the High Court (Gageler and Keane JJ)  refused the taxpayer's application for special leave to appeal from the decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court in ATS Pacific Pty Ltd v FCT [2014] FCAFC 33 (27 March 2014).

The issue in the case was whether the taxpayer, an Australian travel company, was liable to GST in respect of supplies which it made to non-resident travel agents in relation to accommodation and other travel services ("the Products") in Australia which were made available by third party service providers to non-resident tourists who were clients of the non-resident travel agents. The Full Court held that the amount by which the fee charged by the taxpayer to the non-resident travel agents exceeded the cost of the Products (referred to as "the Margin") was subject to GST. In this regard, the Full Court upheld the Commissioner's appeal from the judge at first instance (Bennett J) who had held that the Margin was GST-free pursuant to item 2 in the table in s 38-190(1) of the GST Act.

In the view of the High Court, the case turns on the characterisation, for GST purposes, of particular commercial arrangements. The High Court was not persuaded that it raises any issue of general importance sufficient to warrant a grant of special leave to appeal and special leave was refused with costs.

For a copy of the transcript to the special leave application, go here

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