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GST-offsets – a lesson why not to

The recent decision in Spicer v Boulcott Development Group Limited HC Wellington CIV-2011-485-714, 24 August 2011 highlights the dangers inherent in GST-offset agreements. Although these agreements will be less common with the amendment to the GST Act allowing zero-rating of land there are still occasions where GST-offset agreements may be contemplated.

The facts of Spicer v Boulcott Development Group Limited are simply that following a taxable supply of land the vendor’s GST liability was to be met through an off-set agreement with the purchaser that was conditionally approved by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

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Penny & Hooper – legitimate tax planning or avoidance?

The Supreme court has today released its long-awaited decision about a landmark tax case – Penny & Hooper. The case was decided in favour of Inland Revenue and this decision has widespread implications for the many small businesses using trust structures.

The case is a classic example of taxpayers complying with the ‘black-letter’ of the law, yet not acting within the ‘scheme and purpose’ of the Income Tax Act.

This case involved the restructuring of the business of two surgeons (Penny & Hooper) from sole practitioners earning an income of approximately $500,000 per year, into a company owned by a family trust for the benefit of the surgeons and their respective families. The surgeons became employees of their companies, on salaries of approximately $120,000 per year, while the remainder of the profit from their services was retained by the companies and allocated to the trusts.

Legitimate tax planning or avoidance – what is your view?

Recent comments

  • Joanne Martin: Hi Would you be able to email me to discuss a small company that is an LTC which I need some advice on...
  • Rizwana Saheed: You are on the right track that there is an exemption when employees work overtime but whether or not...
  • bryan: as a group of employees we get paid meal money if we exceed 11hrs on any day. Employer says he wants to tax...
  • linda: My mother is 94 and has dementia. With govt assisted carers she is still living in a home gifted within the...
  • Sharon: Hi Daniel, Can you please advise how owners of a profit-making LTC pay themselves? The owners used to pay...
  • Another Anne: My Dad is in care on full subsidy. I am EPOA. Are we able to gift some money to my brother in UK so...
  • Twagilayesu Isaya: I agree with the author of this article that Inland Revenue Department need to provide clear...
  • Quinn: Hi. I would like some clarification regarding the valuation of the investments component of the owners basis...
  • QROPS Pensions: Interesting piece of writing, you always write the most useful content & TalkTax is no exception...
  • Davo: Jo, quite likely is that the transition to an LTC was not done in time and the company became a normal company...

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