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  • GST Stewardship Group minutes 10 November 2016

    Meeting details

    Venue: ATO Offices, Level 13 Conference Room 713-714, 52 Goulburn Street, Sydney

    Date: 10 November 2016

    Start: 9.30am Finish: 13.00pm

    Chair: Kevin O'Rourke

    Secretariat: Alison Zeitlhofer, Indirect Tax, contact phone: 02 6216 1013


    Tim Dyce

    Deputy Commissioner, Indirect Tax, ATO (Co-Chair)

    Paul Southwell

    Assistant Commissioner, Indirect Tax, ATO

    Hoa Wood

    Assistant Commissioner, Tax Council Network

    Giles Wilmer

    Director, Commonwealth Taxes Unit,
    Queensland Treasury

    Kevin O'Rourke

    Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (Co-Chair)

    Chris Plakias

    Head of Tax, GST and Technology Westpac, Member Australian Bankers’ Association

    Ken Fehily

    Principal, Fehily Advisory, Member CPA Australia

    Andrew Howe

    Director, Greenwoods and Freehills Pty Ltd, Member Property Council of Australia

    Matthew Nicholls

    The Tax Institute

    Andrew Sommer

    Partner, Clayton Utz, Member Law Council of Australia

    Paul Suppree

    Assistant Director, Corporate Tax Association

    Professor Michael Walpole

    Professor and Associate Head of School (Research), School of Taxation & Business Law, University of NSW

    Guest attendees

    Phil Jones

    Assistant Commissioner, Indirect Tax, ATO

    Deborah Jenkins

    Assistant Commissioner, Indirect Tax, ATO (in person for item 3)

    Steve Howlin

    Assistant Commissioner, Indirect Tax, ATO (by phone for item 5)


    George Nikolaou

    Coles Finance

    Christopher Lyon

    Small Business Tax Division, The Treasury

    Agenda summary

    • Welcome
    • Workshop on infrastructure development
    • Improving the refund process
    • Update on Division 93
    • Input tax credit estimators: communication messages
    • Next steps summary and close

    Discussion summary

    Welcome Kevin O'Rourke

    Kevin O'Rourke opened the meeting.

    Action items from 25 August 2016 were updated.

    Apologies were noted and attendees welcomed.


    Due date:


    A – 10/11/16

    May/August 2017

    Deborah Jenkins

    Provide guide to self-assessment to GST Stewardship Group members for feedback

    Workshop on infrastructure development – Steve Howlin

    • This item was not minuted
    • Members provided very valuable contributions during the workshop, which will help to refine thinking and help determine what to and what not to focus on. Steve Howlin was asked to return to the GST Stewardship Group at either the May or August 2017 meetings, to discuss the outcomes of the infrastructure project.


    Due date:


    B – 10/11/16

    May/August 2017

    Steve Howlin

    Provide outcomes of Infrastructure project to GST Stewardship Group

    Improving the refund process – Phil Jones

    This item was to follow up from the May and August 2016 meetings where improving the refund process was discussed. There was also discussion covering difficulties in submitting materials through the ATO Gateway and options available to taxpayers and their agents. The ATO has increased the size of emails that can be received from 5 megabyte to 15 megabytes which has significantly reduced the occurrences of emails bouncing back due to being oversized. The ATO are happy to take this up further with their IT area if the issue remains.

    Since August 2016 a link on ‘Where’s my BAS refund’ has been placed on the ATO website to assist taxpayers, it provides:

    • Reasons why the ATO stops some refunds and what clients might consider before lodgment, and
    • Examples of records and details clients need to provide the ATO if their refund gets stopped.

    The ATO’s virtual assistant / search tool 'Alex' can also be used to find this content

    The ATO is looking to improve on the web content explaining what documentation is required when refunds are stopped in certain circumstances.


    Due date:


    C – 10/11/16

    December 2016


    Provide feedback to secretariat on ‘where’s my BAS refund’ information on

    Update on Division 93 – Hoa Wood

    This item was to follow up from previous meetings where Division 93 of the GST Act was discussed. Members were advised of the potential mismatch between the time limit for claiming input tax credits (ITCs) under Division 93 and the period of review (POR) provisions in Subdivision 155-B of Schedule 1 to the TAA.

    The ATO has drafted a pragmatic view which is considered should counteract the unintended consequences of the legislation. This view will be shared with GST Stewardship Group members prior to broader circulation, so that feedback can be obtained to determine the best way to communicate, including the channel, content and product.


    Due date:


    D – 10/11/16

    Friday 30 September 2016


    Provide feedback to secretariat on Division 93 view including channel, content and product

    Input tax credit estimators: communication messages – Steve Howlin

    This item was following up from the May 2016 meeting where input tax credit (ITC) estimators were discussed.

    The ATO is developing a guidance note on the practical application of ITC estimators. Steve Howlin is seeking feedback from the group to determine how best to approach taxpayers who are contemplating using ITC estimators, including those who are less sophisticated. The message needs to convey a warning about the complexities, timing issues, costs and risks involved.


    Due date:


    E – 10/11/16

    December 2016


    Provide feedback on ITC Estimator communication messages 1 page brief (attached)

    Next steps summary and close – Kevin O'Rourke

    Should members wish to discuss the recently released exposure draft legislation and associated explanatory material to apply GST to low value goods imported by consumers in Australia, they can directly contact Joshua Pooley.

    Agenda items suggested for next meeting include:

    • Board of Taxation
    • Low value imported goods - post consultation on draft law
    • Financial Supplies - risks and insights
    • Public advice and guidance

    The format of future meetings was discussed including the use of video conferencing; members agreed that they valued face to face meetings but would utilise video conferencing for short timeframes in between scheduled meetings where appropriate.

    The meeting concluded at 13:00


    Due date:


    F – 10/11/16

    December 2016


    Members to advise if they would like a telephone hook-up to discuss the practical application to apply GST to low value goods imported by consumers in Australia

      Last modified: 20 Dec 2016QC 50772