New residential GST surprise policy shift in 2017 Budget

New residential GST surprise policy shift in 2017 Budget
New residential GST surprise policy shift in 2017 Budget

From 1 July 2018 the Government will require purchasers of new residential premises to remit the GST directly to the ATO as part of settlement.

KPMG's Indirect Tax Partner Kate Law says this announcement comes as a surprise.

"It is a significant divergence from the way the GST system currently operates , where GST is collected from the supplier (developers).

"The Government has announced this change as a tax integrity measure," she noted.

Around four years ago, ATO compliance programs targeted illegal “phoenix” activity, purportedly from a number of property developers who repeatedly placed companies in liquidation with outstanding GST obligations, despite having claimed input tax credits on construction costs.

However, KPMG indicated it was not aware of industry consultation on this issue more recently.

"We question the practicality and administrative cost of imposing GST on unregistered ‘mum and dad’ purchasers.

"Where developers use the margin scheme to calculate the GST liability, the purchaser is unlikely to be aware of the amount of GST included in the purchase price.

"This measure will therefore require developers to change the way they disclose the price to ensure the GST liability is disclosed as a separate line item," it noted

The Budget papers state that this measure is estimated to increase GST revenue by $660 million and associated payments to the States and Territories, net of administrative costs, by $1.6 billion over the forward estimates period (4 years to 2019-20).

However, the Budget papers state that the difference is due to the timing of when GST is collected and recognised.

"This suggests that it is not a permanent GST difference - which is seemingly at odds with the Government’s statement that some developers are failing to remit the GST to the ATO.”

Gst Federal Budget

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