There have been differing views as to whether a Body Corporate carries on a taxable activity and whether it can or is required to register for GST purposes. As a result of this uncertainty there have been differing practices.
The IRD has recently issued a consultation document in which they have reached a preliminary view that a Body Corporate carries on a taxable activity as it makes supplies of services to the owners of unit titles, who provide consideration for these services by payment of body corporate levies. The Body Corporate is a separate legal entity from the owners of the Unit Titles. Consequently a Body Corporate is required to register for GST if its taxable supplies exceed the $ 60,000 threshold. Body Corporates whose supply does not exceed $ 60,000 can voluntarily register for GST purposes.
This preliminary view is being consulted on as this conclusion reached by the Commissioner is not completely free from doubt.
This will be particularly relevant, if the Commissioner’s view is confirmed, as the Body Corporate does not have to return GST on any damages settlements they receive, yet will still be able to recover GST on the costs they incur in making good the property. By comparison, insurance payouts are expressly subject to GST.
As an interim measure until this matter is finalised and a final view is formed, the following applies:
- A Body Corporate is not required to register for GST regardless whether the value of supplies exceed the registration threshold of $ 60,000
- However a Body Corporate may choose to register for GST purposes. This registration will be effective from the date of registration and cannot be backdated.
- If it is ultimately determined that all Body Corporates are required to register for GST purposes further consideration will be given as to the effective date of registration
- If it is ultimately determined that Bodies Corporate do not undertake taxable activities, those registered will be deregistered. This may result in a GST output tax liability.
If you are about to receive a compensation from the insurance company or a third party or you are contemplating whether to register a Body Corporate for GST, we recommend that you come and speak to us, so that we can assess whether and how these rules will apply to your particular circumstances. One of the directors of our sister company Private Accounting Ltd, Barry Tuck, has had significant experience in advising and representing Bodies Corporate in GST matters.