1.b.3. What is the GST treatment of medical photography (including x-rays) for cosmetic procedures?
For source of ATO view, refer to issues 1.b and 1.b.2 of this issues register.
To determine the GST treatment it is necessary to consider the application of the definition of ‘*medical service’ in section 195-1 as it appears in section 38-7. The question further requires a consideration of section 38-7(2), which excludes certain cosmetic procedures.
If the medical photography is supplied by, or on behalf of, the medical practitioner and is not for an excluded professional service (for example in relation to tattoo removal) or rendered for cosmetic reasons, it will be GST-free. The service must also be generally accepted in the medical profession as being necessary for the appropriate treatment of the recipient of the supply.
Where the service is one for which a Medicare benefit is payable, the service will be GST-free and it is not necessary to consider whether it is rendered for cosmetic reasons.
In relation to pathology and diagnostic imaging, it is understood that these services are performed before a cosmetic procedure and after a cosmetic procedure. Advice from the Department of Health and Aged Care is that Medicare benefits are payable under the Medicare Benefits Scheme as these services may be performed without the cosmetic procedure going ahead (before) and in relation to assessing damage (after). They have indicated that they would consider these services would satisfy the requirements for the payment of a Medicare benefit that it be clinically relevant and listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule.