COMLAW 747 - Goods and Services Tax

Course prescription

An advanced study of Goods and Services Tax, although other indirect and asset taxes may be examined. The Course deals mainly with New Zealand GST but analogous taxes in other jurisdictions (notably Australian GST and UK VAT) are referred to for comparative purposes. Major topics include: taxable activities, input tax, output tax, registration, adjustments, taxable supplies, timing and the GST anti-avoidance provisions.

Programme and Course Advice

  • Prerequisite: Selected Applicants with BCom, BCom(hons), LLB, LLB(hons) or similar

Goals of the Course

The paper is an advanced course studying all major aspects of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985. The objectives of the course are to provide students with both a theoretical background and high level of technical knowledge of the GST Act. Comparisons with other indirect taxes and overseas variations of GST provide a deeper understanding of the policy behind the New Zealand GST regime.

The course provides students with an opportunity to increase their research, writing and group presentation skills by the completion of a major paper on various aspects of the GST regime. This final exam requires students to apply all aspects of the GST Act they have mastered during the course. Emphasis is therefore placed on good analytical skills and presentation of researched, comprehensive and well-reasoned solutions.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course it is expected that the student will be able to:

  1. Identify and comprehend the major features of the GST Act.
  2. Understand the meaning of “taxable activity”, the rules governing taxable supplies, zero-rated transactions and time of supply.
  3. Analyse the policy and principles underlying the GST regime.
  4. Apply their knowledge in the preparation of a GST return, including all input tax, output tax and adjustments.
  5. Analyse the application of the GST Act to business transactions for the purposes of providing advice and administering the tax system.
  6. Demonstrate by synthesis enhanced research, writing and presentation skills.
  7. Evaluate and analyse the use of anti-avoidance provisions where appropriate.

Learning and teaching

This is an intensive course taught over 3 consecutive days, Thursday-Saturday 17-19 May 2018 from 9am-4.30pm each day.

Teaching staff

Allan Bullot, GST Partner, Deloitte

There will also be another senior and experienced GST lecturer presenting in the course.

Inquiries on the course should be directed to:

Barnard Hutchinson
Faculty of Law
Building 810, Room 533

Phone: +64 9 923 7037

Learning resources

There is no prescribed text but it is essential that students have a copy of the GST Act 1985. Reference to the legislation will be made constantly throughout the course.

Other texts that can be usefully consulted (and all are available in the Davis Law Library) are:

  • New Zealand GST Tax Guide, CCH New Zealand Ltd, A McKenzie Editor, 2017
  • GST in New Zealand, Thomson Reuters, G Pearson, etc, 2017
  • New Zealand Goods & Services Tax Legislation (2017), CCH

There are a variety of online resources available that will assist students in this course. Davis Law Library staff are available to assist students in accessing all on-line materials available.

Assessment, attendance and participation, final exam

The final grade for the course is made up by the following:

  • 80% final take-home exam
  • 20% attendance and participation in seminars

Attendance and participation

Attendance and participation are worth 20% of the final grade. Allocating marks to class participation reflects the desire to encourage feedback and discussion within the course. Although the course will be taught predominantly in a lecture format, the small size of the class (no more than 20 students) encourages interaction and student participation.

Final exam

The final paper is worth 80% of the final mark. The paper must be approximately 6,000 words in length. It must be completed and handed in to the Faculty of Law three to four weeks after the course.

The final paper will test research, analytical and writing skills by requiring students to apply a number of different aspects of the GST Act to detailed fact patterns, thereby testing their depth of knowledge and problem-solving ability.