The sale of a property has GST implications and, potentially, income tax consequences. The GST implications can catch out those who are not fully conversant with how the GST laws apply.
A recent AAT decision held that, for the purposes of the GST law, all of the consideration in relation to the sale of a property was received by the taxpayer at the time of settlement on May 16, 2008, despite not all the consideration being received at that time.
Broadly, the case concerned the liability of the taxpayer (a trust, Rod Mathiesen Truck Hire Pty Ltd as trustee for the Matheson Family Trust) for GST in connection with the taxable supply of vacant land in Queensland. The tax commissioner assessed the trust on the basis that it received full consideration on the transfer of the property in the 2008 tax year in part through a vendor finance agreement (described as the settlement balance facility agreement). A director of Rod Mathiesen Truck Hire Pty Ltd, Mrs Mathiesen, signed the settlement balance facility agreement.
The trust had issued a tax invoice to the purchaser for $3.495 million, including $317,753.50 in GST. However, the trust argued that it was only liable for GST to the extent of two payments actually received for the property (around $2 million and $500,000), made in the 2008 and 2009 tax periods, and amounting to less than the full consideration.
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