Australia-Uber drivers must now charge GST
Under the current Australian GST legislation, a threshold of AUD 75,000 exists, with businesses whose turnover does not exceed this not having to register for, and charge Australian GST on supplies.
However, the legislation also states that this threshold is not applicable to providers of taxi and limousine services, and as such, these businesses must register for GST from the commencement of their activities.
Previously, Uber drivers believed that the threshold did apply to them, as they were not in fact providing taxi services. Many reasons were given for this, including the fact that they could not be hailed by passengers, they were not required to obtain taxi licenses in the way traditional taxis are, and they were not marked as taxis.
The Australian tax authorities took the opposite view, and the issue was subsequently brought before the Australian courts, who on 17 February 2017, decided that the services of Uber drivers must indeed be seen as taxi/limousine services, and subsequently the GST threshold does not apply to these operators.
This decision means that Uber drivers must now register for, and charge Australian GST upon their services.