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  • 4.a.15. When does a lens become a ‘lens for prescription spectacles’ for the purposes of subsection 38-45(1) and Item 155 of Schedule 3 of the GST Act?

    This issue is a public ruling for the purposes of section 105-60 of Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953.

    It is considered that partly finished lenses which already have some part of a corrective prescription incorporated in them and have no other use than for finishing and incorporation into prescription spectacles, are significantly identifiable as 'lenses for prescription spectacles' for the purposes of subsection 38-45(1) of the GST Act.

    Thus, where substrate has some element of a prescription incorporated into it, it will be accepted as being ‘lenses for prescription spectacles’. Otherwise, it will be subject to GST.

    Items which must be further processed prior to taking on the characteristics of a prescription lens (such as pieces of optical plastic which do not have any element of a prescription already incorporated) are not, at that point, considered to be ‘lenses for prescription spectacles’. As such, plano lenses will not be GST-free as ‘lenses for prescription spectacles’ except where an optometrist actually prescribes such a lens for a particular person. It is only at this point, that the supply of the plano lens, can be identified as being a ‘lens for prescription spectacles’.

      Last modified: 16 Oct 2013QC 16330