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Time is of the Essence: Supplies, Grouping Schemes and Cancelled Transactions


Rebecca Millar


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law


Journal of Australian Taxation, Vol. 7, No. 2, p. 132, 2004
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/83

Abstract:     
It has been said that Australian GST has no time of supply rules, but this view stems from a misunderstanding of the role of time of supply rules in other jurisdictions. A comparative approach reveals that such rules are simply attribution rules, responsible for allocating the payment of tax to particular tax periods, and Australia does have such attribution rules. Moreover, other jurisdictions frequently determine the status of a supply by reference to the real time of supply in the real world. Identifying the time at which a supply is made is of fundamental importance for a tax on transactions because the tax treatment of a transaction is determined at that time by reference to a range of features, which may include the character of the supply, the status of the supplier, the location and status of the recipient, and/or the location of goods. Two areas where the interaction between attribution time of supply rules and the real time of supply is significant are the treatment of transactions which span the entry into or exit from a GST group, and the treatment of cancelled transactions. Recent United Kingdom case law on VAT avoidance schemes provides a good illustration of the former, while recent New Zealand case law on land transactions deals with the latter. These cases reveal that Australia is not alone in its lack of legislative guidance on the real time of supply. The article concludes with some suggestions for real time of supply rules for Australian GST.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 65

Keywords: Tax, GST, VAT, value added tax, consumption tax, goods and services tax, time of supply

JEL Classification: K34, H29

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Date posted: April 29, 2005 ; Last revised: December 16, 2007

Suggested Citation

Millar, Rebecca, Time is of the Essence: Supplies, Grouping Schemes and Cancelled Transactions. Journal of Australian Taxation, Vol. 7, No. 2, p. 132, 2004; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/83. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=711581

Contact Information

Rebecca Mescal Millar (Contact Author)
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
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