Tribunal finds applicant liable to pay GST in respect of property seminars

Yesterday the Tribunal handed down its decision in Climo and Commissioner of Taxation [2012] AATA 350. The Tribunal found that the applicant was liable to pay GST in respect of consideration received for the supply of the introduction of would-be purchasers of the services of a company operated by the applicant’s wife.  The applicant was unable to produce sufficient evidence to substantiate his claims that he carried out his activities without any reward but purely to assist companies associated with his wife.

The applicant presented at “seminars” for members of the public who wished to invest in property.  The applicant would then introduce those investors to companies associated with the applicant’s wife and those companies would be engaged to construct property on land purchased by the investors.  The applicant engaged people to assist him in his activities and rented rooms to hold the seminars.  There was no documentary evidence to support the applicant’s assertion that he was reimbursed for this expenditure.  Also, the Tribunal was not satisfied that the payments made to the applicant by the companies did not pass to the applicant rather than, as maintained by the applicant, passed to companies associated with his wife.

The decision is an example of the difficulties faced by taxpayers, in the absence of documentary evidence, in discharging the onus of showing that a GST assessment is excessive.

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