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GST FAQs – Commercial Property

Search for GST frequently asked questions relating to commercial property. Click on the question below to view answer.


There are simple principles to consider.

  • All outgoings such as rent, owner’s corporation fees, land tax and rates are adjusted on a GST exclusive basis. While some adjustments like rent may have a GST component to it, when the rent is invoiced, the landlord/vendor incurs a liability to remit the GST on that rent instalment to the ATO. When settlement occurs during that rent period, it is appropriate that the vendor retains the amount of the GST so as to be able to discharge the liability.
  • In the usual case where rates are adjusted on a paid basis, the GST payable on the sale of the land and set out in the tax invoice is calculated on the adjusted purchase price.

The ATO has issued two rulings which are relevant to calculating GST on the sale of land – see:

  1. GSTR 2004/9  http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?DocID=GST/GSTR20049/NAT/ATO/00001
  2. GSTD 2006/3  http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?Docid=GSD/GSTD20063/NAT/ATO/00001 

The adjustment between the vendor and purchaser of tenanted premises is done on a GST exclusive basis. The vendor of the land has to account for the GST for the whole of the month in which settlement occurs even though settlement may occur on the second day of the rental period.

For a holiday home to be treated as ‘commercial residential premises’ it would need to be similar to a hotel, motel, inn, hostel or boarding house. The ATO in its final ruling GSTR 2012/6 sets out the eight characteristics that premises would have to possess to be considered ‘commercial residential premises’(see paragraph 12). They are:

  • commercial intention
  • multiple occupancy
  • holding out to the public
  • accommodation is the main purpose
  • central management
  • management offers accommodation in its own right
  • provision of, or arrangement for, services
  • occupants have status as guests.

No. Under s.188-25 the value received on the disposal of a capital asset by an entity that is neither registered nor required to register for GST is disregarded for the purposes of calculating projected annual turnover and so the proceeds of sale will not be treated as turnover for the purpose of the registration turnover threshold.

In some situations a property will not be considered a capital asset and will be considered trading stock and treated as turnover for the purposes of the registration turnover threshold if, for example,  it was bought for the purposes of resale.

A supply can only be taxable if the supplier is registered or required to be registered for GST. Therefore not being registered is only part of the story. You have to decide whether the individuals who are not registered are required to be registered.

It is necessary to ascertain whether the two individuals are carrying on an enterprise, either individually or in a tax law partnership (joint receipt of income). An entity’s enterprise includes any and all activities of a business nature, even though quite diverse and unrelated in nature. GST turnover consists of current GST turnover and projected GST turnover and includes turnover from all sources other than salaries and input taxed turnover.

Section 188-25 of the GST Act excludes the proceeds of realisation of a capital asset from projected GST turnover, so avoiding the situation where the proceeds of sale would otherwise trigger a requirement to be registered and a liability for GST.

If an entity’s GST turnover is at or above the turnover threshold of $75,000, the entity is required to be registered.

If the two individuals are neither registered nor required to be registered for GST, the supply of the company’s half share will be taxable but the share of the two individuals will not.

An entity is required to be registered if its GST turnover is at or above the GST registration threshold ($75,000 p.a.). GST turnover consists of current GST turnover and projected GST turnover and includes turnover from all sources other than salaries and input taxed turnover.  All too often, practitioners look at this issue on a property by property basis as if there could only be a requirement to be registered if the turnover generated by the subject property were at or above the registration turnover threshold.

A lot depends on the purpose of the clients in acquiring the land – if their intention was to acquire it for later resale, then it is trading stock and its value, when marked for sale, would form part of projected GST turnover and, in most cases, take the clients’ turnover over the registration threshold.

In this case the property was bought with the intention of resale, albeit with new buildings on it, so it is likely to be considered trading stock which will take the client’s turnover and projected turnover over the $75,000 and he will be required to be registered for GST. GST will then be payable on the sale.

See also the article by the ATO: Do you deal in property?

The adjustment between the vendor tenant and the purchaser tenant is done on a GST exclusive basis. The vendor tenant is entitled to claim the GST for the whole of the month as an input tax credit even though it may only be the tenant for the first day of the month – there is only one tax invoice for the month and the vendor will have and retain that.

Since the supply occurring under the contract is treated as being made at the time of settlement rather than on the day of sale, it is sufficient from the vendor’s perspective that registration occur before the settlement date.

 

This is not a GST issue as much as a contractual one and the outcome depends on the wording of the penalty interest clause in the contract of sale.

If the contract is the standard LIV contract, the answer is that penalty interest is payable on the GST component as general condition 26 provides that interest is payable on any money owing under the contract during the period of default. Since the amount payable for GST is an amount payable under the contract at settlement, that amount would attract interest.

Penalty interest does not attract GST. Penalty interest is treated as consideration for a financial supply and therefore input taxed.

The registration fee is not an item that should be treated as part of the consideration for GST calculation purposes, so the calculation of GST is as follows:

Contract price                                    $ 550,000.00

Adjustments                                      $       1,355.20

Adjusted consideration                    $ 551,355.20

GST                                                     $      5,513.55

The ATO has issued two rulings which are relevant to calculating GST on the sale of land – see:

GSTR 2004/9  http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?DocID=GST/GSTR20049/NAT/ATO/00001

GSTD 2006/3  http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?Docid=GSD/GSTD20063/NAT/ATO/00001

For further information on the treatment of GST on adjustments see the FAQs on our website.

A supply cannot be taxable unless the supplier is registered for GST, or required to be.

In the case of estates, if the deceased was required to be registered, then the legal personal representative will also be required to be registered in his/her representative capacity.

The legal personal representative also may be required to be registered even where the deceased was not, if the administration of the estate produce a turnover at or above the registration threshold.

The threshold for registration is based on turnover rather than profitability.  An entity is required to be registered if its GST turnover is at or above the GST registration threshold ($75,000 p.a.). GST turnover consists of current GST turnover and projected GST turnover and includes turnover from all sources other than salaries and input taxed turnover.

Section 188-25 of the GST Act excludes the proceeds of sale of a capital asset from projected GST turnover, avoiding a situation where the sale itself triggers a requirement to be registered; the exclusion does not apply where land is trading stock (for example, land acquired for resale).

So, where the supplier of a property is not registered or required to be registered and the property is not trading stock, the supply of the property is not taxable. If you find that there is a requirement to be registered, then the supply could qualify as a going concern given the property is tenanted.

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Key contact:   Heather Hibberd
If you have not found the answer to your GST question, and you are an LPLC insured, you could use the GST hotline.