The GST measures announced in this year's Budget took a back seat to the other revenue and non-revenue measures which comprise the Budget. Generally speaking, all of the measures referenced back to previous measures (including earlier Budget measures) announced by the Government.
In summary, the major GST announcements in the Budget include the following:
- extending the operation of the ATO voluntary GST compliance program until 2016. The additional Government funding to continue this program will allow the ATO to undertake activities which promote voluntary GST compliance with the key focus areas being issues relating to fraudulent GST refunds, systemic under-reporting of GST liabilities, failure to lodge GST returns and outstanding GST debts;
- amending the cross-border provisions to significantly reduce the number of non-residents who are unnecessarily drawn into the GST system and to make changes to the GST treatment of the supply of goods by non-residents. However, no further details on this measure are provided in the Budget. These amendments will take effect from the first quarterly tax period following Royal Assent of the enabling legislation, rather than 1 July 2012 as originally announced in the 2010-2011 Budget;
- reinstating the entitlement of credit unions to a reduced input tax credit if they rebrand as "banks" but otherwise do not change their corporate structure, with effect from 1 July 2012; and
- inserting a regulation making-power in the GST law to prescribe that certain payments between government related entities are not subject to GST, with effect from 1 July 2012.