The Guardian July 19, 2000


The GST lies continue

by Andrew Jackson

Daily headlines are making lies of John Howard's GST promises, with every 
sector of the community revealing ways in which the GST has hit harder than 
expected.

Treasurer Peter Costello has admitted that the Government will need to 
constantly monitor the tax for unplanned negative effects and "glitches", 
and change the legislation where necessary.

This is the Government who initially boasted there would be no need to 
change the GST legislation once implemented. Now they are desperately 
trying to make distinctions between their plans to "fine tune" and Labor's 
plans to "roll-back".

Employment Minister Peter Reith went even further "No-one is saying that 
the tax laws as at 1 July ... will be locked in stone forever and a day. 
No-one is saying that, no-one in their right mind would say that."

This statement directly contradicts Howard, who only this week said "the 
cement is set". This admission exposes the insincerity of Howard's promise 
that the GST will "never, ever" rise above 10 percent.

The GST lies continue, as does the infighting amongst both Labor and 
Liberal ranks.

It won't be long before there is an attempt to roll back the exemptions.

There is only one satisfactory solution. That is to REPEAL the GST and 
institute a progressive tax system.

SWINDLERS' LIST

Education: When the Democrats passed the GST legislation they 
promised us that education would be GST free. But if you take that 
statement at face value you are in for a rude shock.

Not only has GST been levied on education essentials such as books, 
stationery, sports and science equipment, and even school lunches; HECS 
payments are set to rise dramatically due to a GST-inspired jump in 
inflation.

Then, if you choose to enrol in an Adult Education course at one of the 
many evening colleges, you will find the full 10 percent added to your fee.

This is because the Government has determined that Evening Colleges do not 
engage in education, but provide a "service", which of course, attracts the 
GST.

Housing: The Government is set to reap and astonishing $300 million 
off unsuspecting home-builders and renovators whose work was not completed 
by July 1.

The Housing Association estimates that there were 50,000 incomplete home 
projects as of the introduction of the GST, and those people are now liable 
to pay the GST in full, even on work that had already been completed.

This amounts to an extra $20,000 on an average house and land package of 
$250,000, with some people already reported as having to pay an extra 
$50,000 on their new homes.

Lay-by: Many poorer families have utilised the lay-by system as a 
way to take advantage of sales at department stores, and as an interest-
free payment system to prepare for times of heavy financial drain, such as 
Christmas and new school terms.

However, those purchases not paid in full by July 1, will now attract the 
full 10 percent, regardless of how much had already been paid off the item 
by that date.

This is because the Government has deemed that legally, the store still 
owns the item until fully paid for.

In direct contradiction of this policy, Hire Purchase items will only 
attract the GST on the remaining payments, even though the item remains the 
legal property of the credit company.

Perhaps the Government, out of the goodness of its heart, recognises the 
huge interest slug of up to 25 percent consumers are already paying to the 
giant finance corporations.

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Guardian readers are invited to send in items for publication in Swindlers List let us know of your GST experiences.

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