21 Sep 2015

Changes to GST on business services on the cards

9:39 am on 21 September 2015

Inland Revenue has released a discussion paper about possible changes to the way goods and services tax is applied to some business services, and to change the way the tax operates in practice.

GST invoice

Photo: 123RF

Eugen Trombitas, a partner at advisory firm PWC, welcomed the news.

Mr Trombitas said there were several significant issues, including allowing businesses to claim GST when raising capital, which had been problematic.

"That's been a contentious area in the past, so that's good news for business."

Mr Trombitas said there was also a proposal to impose GST on legal and advisory services to overseas land buyers.

"Most of these can be zero-rated at the moment. The (Inland) Revenue is suggesting that services that relate to land will be subject to GST of 15 percent and no longer zero-rated. So that will be significant to real estate agents, lawyers and property managers."

He said the proposed changes should help businesses, including the ability to claim GST going back eight years rather than four, and allowing more businesses to file GST on a six monthly basis.

PwCs GST Partner, Eugen Trombitas

PwCs GST Partner, Eugen Trombitas Photo: Supplied

Mr Trombitas said proposals to allow larger businesses, such as retirement village operators, to work out with Inland Revenue how to apportion what's taxable and what's exempt, will also make life easier.

The discussion paper is available on the Inland Revenue website, and submissions close at the end of next month.