5 December 2013

Labor wrong again on GST

The Assistant Treasurer, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO, today accused the Labor Party of hypocrisy over the GST.

“Labor made a series of misleading claims today regarding the Government making changes to the GST,” said Senator Sinodinos.

The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, asserted in his Matter of Public Importance speech to the House of Representatives this afternoon that:

“Now what consumers face with this Coalition Government is the prospect that they will slap a new 10% tax on online purchases.”

However, just 10 days ago Bill Shorten publicly stated that he could see the merits of changing the low value threshold for on-line purchases and it should be looked into further.

“In Government, Labor explicitly asked for two reviews to look into reducing the low value threshold for on-line purchases – both commissioned by Bill Shorten, when he was Assistant Treasurer,” Senator Sinodinos said.

“He asked the Productivity Commission to look into it in December 2010 and then established the Low Value Parcel Processing Taskforce in December 2011.”

The Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh MP, also suggested the Government was going to make changes to the GST on moveable homes.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) released a draft ruling on potential changes to the GST treatment of moveable home estates on 31 October 2013.

Senator Sinodinos reiterated that this is a draft ruling and is an administration decision of the ATO.

The draft ruling on moveable homes came after a review by the ATO of previous rulings, as a result of several court cases that considered the application of GST to different types of property.

The issue was first raised as far back as 2011 under the former Government and the review was initiated in December 2012.  David Bradbury MP, the Assistant Treasurer at the time, was informed of the review.

“The ATO releases draft rulings each year, many dealing with GST including a number under the previous Government. This is part of the normal process of tax administration,” said Senator Sinodinos.

The Assistant Treasurer said the ATO is consulting a wide range of stakeholders on its legal interpretation reflected in the draft ruling. He encouraged interested parties to make a submission.