What is a Taxi?

Lets start with a definition… According to…

  1. a combination of statements, ideas, or features which are opposed to one another.

When considering the exemption from FBT for certain taxi travel under section 58Z of the FBTAA86, the Commissioner states:

The exemption is limited to travel in a vehicle licensed by the relevant State or Territory to operate as a taxi. It does not extend to ride-sourcing services provided in a vehicle that is not licensed to operate as a taxi.

When considering whether Uber drivers should be treated as taxis for GST, the Commissioner said they should and won a Federal Court Case saying all Uber drivers are taxis, forcing all Uber drivers to register for GST from their first dollar, rather than $75,000 turnover (Uber BV v. Federal Commissioner of Taxation [2017] FCA 110)

So when being a taxi is good for taxpayers (FBT exemptions) the Commissioner says Uber is not a taxi, but when being a taxi is bad for taxpayers (having the remit GST from the first dollar earned) the Commissioner says Uber is a taxi.

The worst part is that, when he is made aware of this contradiction he puts out a discussion paper asking what he can do. The answer is easy… avoid contradictions.






By Ken Mansell

As a stay at home Dad most of the week this is my way of pretending I am still the tax counsel of ASX and SEC listed companies, working at big 4 firms, working at the Federal Treasury, on the Henry Review and at Parliament House for the previous government.

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