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Date of advice: 15 November 2017
Subject: GST and food
QUESTION AT ISSUE:
Is the supply of your meal that is not marketed as a prepared meal, GST-free?
● You are registered for goods and services tax (GST).
● You supply a meal.
● The meal is not sold in vacuum or heat sealed containers or bags.
● The meal is not marketed as a prepared meal. It is only sold from the salad bar, not from the freezer or the hot food section.
● The meal is not sold for consumption on the premises. It is also not sold as hot food for consumption away from the premises. However, the customer has an option of eating it cold or may choose to heat it.
● Up to the present you have been selling the meal GST-free.
Yes, the supply of your meal that is not marketed as a prepared meal is GST-free.
REASONS FOR DECISION:
A supply of food is GST-free if the product satisfies the definition of food as set out in the GST legislation and the supply is not excluded by another section of the GST legislation.
Food is defined in the GST legislation to include food for human consumption (whether or not requiring processing or treatment). The meal you supply is food for human consumption.
However, under the GST legislation a supply of food is not GST-free if it is food for consumption on the premises, hot food for consumption away from the premises or food marketed as a prepared meal, but not including soup.
You have advised the meal is not for consumption on the premises and is not sold as hot food for consumption away from the premises.
The classification of the meal depends on whether they are considered to constitute a 'prepared meal'.
The term 'prepared meal' is not defined in the GST legislation but the GST Food Guide at page four (a copy enclosed for your information) says that when determining whether food is marketed as a prepared meal you should consider how the goods are promoted or advertised. Consideration should also be given to the name, price, labelling, instructions, packaging and placement of the goods in the store.
Although your meal is advertised as ready for consumption, you have advised it is not marketed as a prepared meal.
Therefore, you are making a GST-free supply under the GST legislation when you sell your meal, as the meal is not for consumption on the premises, nor is it hot food for consumption away from the premises, nor marketed as a prepared meal.