Thoughts on the contribution of the late Justice J.G. Hill to Australia's GST
Australian Tax Forum, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 137-153, 2013
19 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 1, 2013
Graham Hill was for many years the pre-eminent tax judge in the Federal Court of Australia. Throughout his career as a tax practitioner, and then as a judge, he taught stamp duties, sales tax, and later goods and services tax (GST/VAT), in the Masters of Law program at Sydney Law School. His death in 2005 was felt as a great loss to the Australian tax community. In 2013, Australian Tax Forum devoted a full edition to a Gedenksschrift for Graham Hill. In this paper, published in that edition, Rebecca Millar combines her personal memories of Graham Hill with an analysis of the early Australian case law on GST. Remembering the generosity of spirit with which Justice Hill welcomed her as a newcomer to academic life in 2002, she interweaves excerpts from their email correspondence on cancelled land transactions and the basic design features of GST with an analysis of his comparative law approach to the interpretation of indirect tax law. While noting some of the pitfalls of the comparative approach, Professor Millar applauds the clarity of the judgment in HP Mercantile and highlights the extent to which the ideas expressed in that case came directly from the European Union VAT Directive, placing the Australian GST firmly within the traditions of value added tax. She then considers how Justice Hill might have decided the later case of Reliance Carpet, had he been called upon to decide it.
Keywords: GST, VAT, Australia, Cancelled transactions, Graham Hill
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation