The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Peter Costello

Peter Costello

Treasurer

11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Media Release of 24/01/2000

NO.001

No Fee on GST Rulings

There is no fee for GST advice issued by the Australian Taxation Office. Nor will there be such a fee.

The article in today’s Herald Sun on this issue is totally misleading and wrong.

The Ralph Report on business taxation (not GST) raised the issue of cost recovery for private binding rulings in the area of business tax. These are legally binding rulings on disclosed business transactions which provide certainty to taxpayers and give significant commercial advantages. For example, a person promoting an investment scheme may seek a ruling from the ATO as to the tax status of investments in the scheme. The proposal may be highly complex and require the ATO to devote substantial technical resources to provide a ruling. The person would obtain significant commercial advantage from being able to use the ruling to market the scheme.

Some business involved in these compliance transactions have complained at the length of time to secure private binding rulings and raised the issue of cost recovery as a way of speeding up the process. Of course if these businesses do not pay the cost of rulings then taxpayers generally will pick up the cost.

The ATO is currently consulting business whether there is support for the application of fees for selected rulings and the matter will be considered by Government after the process.

Fees will not be imposed on GST advice or rulings. Nor has there been any suggestion this would be the case.

CANBERRA
24 January 2000

Contact: Niki Savva
(02) 72777340