Are seed potatoes "food" for GST purposes?
For source of ATO view, refer to the Detailed food list.
Seed potatoes are normally subject to GST as they are not food for human consumption pursuant to paragraph 38-4(1)(a) of the GST Act. However, where the grower determines that the seed potatoes be supplied to the market as food, the supply will be GST-free.
This decision is made on the basis of information provided by industry that seed potatoes are generally used to grow potato crops. Seed potatoes are sold as certified seed potatoes. They are potatoes that are grown under special conditions to ensure they are disease free and have a high purity level. A certified seed crop is differentiated from other potato crops in that it has followed a system of management protocols and crop health checks determined by the certification authority. When harvested, the potatoes are visually no different from any other potatoes of the same variety, but they are able to be labelled as certified seed and generally attract a premium price if sold for seed purposes.
Sectio 38-2 states that a supply of food is GST-free. The meaning of food is contained in section 38-4 of the GST Act and includes food for human consumption. As seed potatoes are used to grow potato crops, they are not considered to be food for human consumption.
Information from industry indicates that seed potatoes are sold as food for human consumption when the grower can obtain a good price for the potatoes. At the time the farmer decides to sell the seed potatoes as food rather than for the purpose of growing crops, the potatoes are food for human consumption pursuant to paragraph 38-4(1)(a) of the GST Act and this sale will be GST-free.
A farmer sells certified seed potatoes to another farmer to use to grow potato crops. As the seed potatoes are for the purpose of growing potato crops, they are not food for human consumption.
End of example
A seed potato grower sells some of his seed potatoes to the local fish and chip shop. The potatoes are sold as food for human consumption pursuant to paragraph 38-4(1)(a) of the GST Act and they will be GST-free in accordance with 38-2 of the GST Act.
End of example