Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Imposition (Recipients) - Customs) Act 2005 (Cth)

Wow, now this is boring. 10% GST is payable as of I July 2005 as far as such GST would be imposed on the recipient of a taxable supply and is a customs duty.

When the GST system was introduced, there was a 5 year grace period given to long term contracts, to which the GST did not apply. This grace period ends on 1 July 2005 and this Bill, along with its friends the General and Excise Bills, provide for the ending of this grace period.

So, long term contracts which were not subject to GST, such as for example 20 year leases, now are going to be subject to that GST. Bad luck for tenants, but then again we all pay GST so why shouldn't you!

To the extent the GST imposition is not a customs duty or an excise, it will apply to long term non-reviewable contracts as of 1 July 2005.

Anyone with a long term contract, better get your skates on and talk to the recipient of the supply. Let them know they are going to get slugged the extra 10%.

Consider the Excise and General Bills both commented upon. They are substantially the same.

Also, the Tax Laws Amendment (Long Term Non-Reviewable Contracts) Act 2005, which amends the principal GST (ie 2000 Acts) legislation, provides for the negotiation of a new contract rate, such as rental payment, given the imposition of the GST. I really hate tax legislation, but basically it seems that if the parties cannot agree on a new payment, it goes to arbitration etc etc.

In essence, long term contracts, which in 2000 were not subject to GST, now will be. This is the important bit. Whew...

Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005 (Vic)

Going to try something different today and comment upon the most recently passed State legislation, which just happens to be a fiercely controversial piece of law.

This Act, as I understand it, provides for the mointoring of sexual offenders by the government once they rejoin the community. The Act applies mainly to those offences relating to children.

The Act provides an 'eligible offender' is a person who at some time has been given a custodial sentence, apart from those set aside or quashed. I am unsure whether suspended sentences apply, although the Act applies if a person is sentenced to be placed in an 'approved mental health service'.

The Act basically provides that, where a person has been convicted of a Schedule offence (there are heaps) the government can apply for an extended supervision order, which can last up to 15 years. This is to ensure that when such an offender leaves prison, they are subject to constant monitoring whilst they remain in the community.

When applying, the government must provide the Court with an assessment report from a psychologist or psychiatrist detailing the offender's likely propensity to reoffend, pattern of behaviour of the offender, the efforts they have made to rehabiliate etc etc.

The order contains conditions, which once served on the offender mean they cannot reoffend (well, duh!), that they will attend hearings, notify of address or name changes, not leave the State without permission and other matters.

The offender can be given directions by the government as to where they can reside, times they must be at home, places they must not visit, prohibited employment and community activities and forms of monitoring, including electronic, to which the offender must submit.

If, at any time the order is in force, the offender fails to comply with ANY CONDITION OF IT, the offender is guilty of an indictable offence. Such a breach entails a 5 year maximum sentence. So, if the offender fails to tell the Secretary of a change in employment two days before it occurs, or moves address without permission, they have committed an indictable offence.

So, there you have it, the first piece of legislation reviewed here on The Law Thoughts. Without expressing an opinion on the law itself, it seems a tough piece of legislation which harsh conditions and penalties against sexual offenders. However, I tend to be fairly hardline with sexual offences against children and might argue that in some cases, these orders should not be necessary. The offender should never be let out! I can see the privacy and civil liberties arguments even if I don't agree with them.

Stay tuned for more legislation reviews on The Law Thoughts!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Freer free trade

It is always nice to see the architects of the reasonably unfair world trading system told they can't behave as they want to.

Agricultural access for poorer nations to rich markets is a huge priority in reducing global poverty levels. Rich world farmers are such a powerful lobby group that they prevent the free access of poorer nations.

It is good to see the principles on which the WTO was based upheld and in a forum which has been designed and authorised to hand down binding judgements. This is really great news.