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ATO outlines position on GST after High Court’s Qantas ruling

22 November 2012

Joe Dalton

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) says the goods and services tax (GST) treatment of a transaction will not necessarily be affected if goods or services contemplated by a contract are never actually supplied, following the High Court’s recent ruling in the Qantas Airways case.

In its decision impact statement, the ATO said it still considers earlier cases concerning how to characterise supplies, such as Travelex Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation and Saga Holidays Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation, to be relevant where such characterisation is necessary to apply the statute in any particular case.

"There is nothing in the Qantas decision that would suggest that supplies need to be dissected into their component parts, or that the focus of GST should be on contractual rights and obligations instead of performance," the ATO statement said. "The commissioner considers that the mere failure of a ticketholder to utilise their rights to transport or of entry to an event would not have the effect of cancelling a supply that is made on sale of the ticket."

Qantas case

The case concerned what constituted a supply...

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