Uber drivers collecting GST isn’t anything new, ever since the Australian Taxation Office weighed in on the situation back in 2015. However, you may not have known that Uber took the ATO to court over the decision. The case came to a conclusion on Friday, with the Federal Court ruling in favour of the ATO.
For riders, nothing much should change, seeing as Uber passed on a 10 per cent fare hike back when the original decision was made. On the other hand, drivers who haven’t been paying attention to their GST responsibilities could find themselves in a bit of trouble.
As for the case itself, it was clear to presiding Justice John Griffiths that no matter how you cut it, Uber is a taxi service under the law. From the AAP story:
“Broadly construed, and having regard to other relevant matters of construction, I consider that the word ‘taxi’ is sufficiently broad in its ordinary meaning to encompass the uberX service supplied,” Justice John Griffiths said in his [judgement].
Whether or not Uber trips were classified as “taxi travel” was key because under the GST Act enterprises with a turnover of less than $75,000 don’t need to register for the tax — with the exception of taxi and limousine operators.
The article goes on to mention that Uber wasn’t particularly happy with the ruling (no surprise there). The company will be “reviewing the decision” and “will provide [its] driver-partners with more information” once it has its ducks in a row.