Tax Nerd: Taxis and FBT and GST – The Government changes the law because of Catallaxy …

It looks like those in the Revenue Group at the Treasury read Catallaxy …

Following the post that the Commissioner has decided the word “taxi” in the GST Act includes an Uber (so Ubers have to register for GST and so he gets more GST) but in the FBT Act the word “taxi” does not include an Uber (so the FBT exemption for taxis does not apply to Ubers and he gets more FBT), the Treasury just released a change to the definition of what is a taxi in the FBT Act.

While the draft legislation (https://www.treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2019-407016) states it just makes “minor technical changes to correct typographical and numbering errors, bring provisions in line with modern drafting conventions, repeal inoperative provisions, remove administrative inefficiencies and update references” it also does the following (from the Explanatory Memorandum to the draft legislation)…

1.60 The Bill amends the definition of ‘taxi’ in the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 to resolve administratively difficulties with the former definition which resulted from ride sharing providers entering entry into the market.

1.61 Formerly, the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 defined a taxi as ‘a motor vehicle licenced to operate as a taxi’. As a result of ride sharing providers entering into the market, this has become difficult to administer as the meaning of ‘licensed to operate as a taxi’ is highly contentious and may differ considerably between the states and territories depending on their licensing laws.

1.62 To avoid these difficulties, the new law replaces references to a ‘taxi’ with ‘a car used for taxi travel (other than a limousine)’. The term ‘taxi travel’ is defined as having the same meaning as in the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999, namely, ‘travel that involves transporting passengers by taxi or limousine, for fares’. This preserves the existing policy of covering vehicles used for travel involving transporting passengers for a fare by way of a car but not including luxury cars such as limousines.

If the definition of “taxi” in the FBT Act is exactly the same as in the GST Act, the Commissioner will have no choice to change his opinion on what the term “taxi” means in the FBT Act and therefore have to extend the taxi FBT exemptions to Ubers.

It looks like if you want the law changed, you just write an item for Catallaxy and wait a month.
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10 Responses to Tax Nerd: Taxis and FBT and GST – The Government changes the law because of Catallaxy …

  1. RobK

    shame it is only so on select occasions.

  2. FelixKruell

    Amazing! A problem with a law articulated, a solution identified, and implemented, in record time. If only it were always like this…

  3. John A

    FelixKruell #3151230, posted on September 9, 2019, at 1:32 pm

    Amazing! A problem with a law articulated, a solution identified, and implemented, in record time. If only it were always like this…

    Be careful what you wish for.

    It still resulted in more legislation, more administration and more typos in the Explanatory Memorandum.

  4. Dr Fred Lenin

    Just had a thought bubble , how about a tax on lies ? Tax rated at severity of the lie and damaging effects.
    I expect the ATO would need tax inspectors in all parliaments and local council offices as these would be a huge source of revenue . Such a tax would reduce the disparity of average income in Canberra and other areas ,a great leveller ,so to speak..

  5. Terry

    Dr Fred Lenin
    #3151242, posted on September 9, 2019 at 2:11 pm
    “I expect the ATO would need tax inspectors in all parliaments and local council offices “

    An irresistible selling point…

    ATO get an even bigger empire and get to confiscate more wealth from private citizens. What’s not to like?

  6. gowest

    Good old FBT – how far we have come from the tax (still) used to destroy de-centralisation (ie mining towns built by companies for their employees)! – now its uber’s turn!
    Funny how the govt is having problems dealing with cramped cities – (serves them right for being so greedy!) One wonders what difference it would have made to have thriving mining/country communities with wealth and jobs for migrants to go to instead of our current black hole cities sucking all the wealth into their “black hole” of never ending PS jobs.

  7. Kneel

    To avoid these difficulties, the new law replaces references to a ‘taxi’ with ‘a car used for taxi travel (other than a limousine)’. The term ‘taxi travel’ is defined as having the same meaning as in the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999, namely, ‘travel that involves transporting passengers by taxi or limousine, for fares’.

    So, do limos count, or not?

  8. John Barr

    Wouldn’t it be simpler just to say, “Any mode of Car, Utility or Truck used to carry people for a fare. Why exclude Limousines?

  9. Pete of Perth

    What is there ruling RE Aldi bags and FBT?

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