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ATO cracking down on developers avoiding GST

This year, the Australian Taxation Office has placed a greater focus on property developers and are particularly watching company directors with a history of GST obligations avoidance.

As of May 2017, the Government announced new requirements on those purchasing newly constructed residential properties or new subdivisions to remit the GST directly to the ATO as part of the settlement process. The ATO has placed a strong emphasis on making sure this occurs legitimately, ensuring property developers do not get away with failing to meet their GST obligations.

These proposed requirements were addressed in consultation in November 2017 and are to be implemented as of 1 July 2018. The impending changes will mean that developers no longer have a three-month period to remit GST; hence they no longer have time to be dishonest and avoid GST evasion through phoenixing.

For contracts already entered into, there will be a two-year transitional period, allowing developers involved in these contracts a grace period to adjust to the extensive reforms. Contracts entered into prior to 1 July 2018 will not be affected by these reforms, provided they are settled prior to 1 July 2020.