Commissioner issues Decision Impact Statement for Qantas

On Friday the Commissioner issued his Decision Impact Statement for the decision of the High Court in Commissioner of Taxation v Qantas Airways Ltd [2012] HCA 41.

Some highlights from the Commissioner’s views in the statement include:

  1. The decision does not cause any significant change in the way the Commissioner approaches ‘supply’ or the nexus between supply and consideration.
  2. In cases where a payment is made on entry into a contract which secures rights (whether conditional or not) to a further supply, the Commissioner considers that the payment will be consideration for a supply consisting of at least the provision of those rights (and entry into the corresponding obligations), even if the further contemplated supply is not ultimately made
  3. There is nothing in the Qantas decision that would suggest that supplies need to be ‘dissected’ into their component parts, or that the focus of GST should be on contractual rights and obligations instead of performance.
  4. The Commissioner maintains the view, as recognised in his public rulings, that in many cases, the entry into contractual obligations and corresponding creation of rights should be construed, where relevant, as part of a composite supply that includes the performance of those obligations.

The views of the Commissioner in the Decision Impact Statement will likely cause much discussion.  For my part, I am not sure that matters 2, 3 and 4 sit comfortably together.

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