1.a.23. Where an interpreter is required for a GST-free medical or other health service, what is the GST status of the interpreting services?
Non-interpretative – straight application of the law.
The supply of interpreter services is not a GST-free supply under the Health provisions.
However, where a medical practitioner or recognised professional requires an interpreter for a consultation and it is a supply of service to that medical practitioner or recognised professional, the supply may be GST-free to the patient if the medical practitioner or recognised professional passes that cost on to the patient as part of a GST-free medical or other health service. Subject to the requirements of a taxable supply, the interpreter services to the practitioner may be subject to GST. If so, the practitioner will be entitled to an input tax credit for the GST paid.
In this situation, the interpreting services will form part of the overheads embodied within the GST-free service.
In contrast, if a patient engages an interpreter for a consultation, the supply of the interpreting service to the patient will not be GST-free.