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GST "tax creep" threatens church aged care sector

Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan has expressed alarm at a proposed GST change that threatens to introduce further complication into the tax regime faced by Catholic aged care institutions.

Responding to media speculation on the proposed change, Mr Sullivan said: "Whereas Catholic aged care and homes for the elderly have conducted the full range of retirement through to frail and dependent care accommodation GST free to date, this proposed change of the rules signals an erosion in the tax status of Church run organizations."

He said: "The Catholic provision of retirement living and support services therein aims to enable ordinary and lower income people an affordable lifestyle and the benefits of community living, supported care and security when they grow frailer."

According to Mr Sullivan, the Commonwealth now actually funds aged care services into retirement villages because it recognises that retirement accommodation involves frailer Australians. He says that placing a GST in the middle of the policy shift "will only confuse and bring unnecessary administrative costs on to the Church run organizations".

"It is imperative that the Commonwealth adjust any proposed ruling so that Church run organizations involved in the continuum of aged care services accommodation, who are fulfilling the Government's "Ageing in Place Policy", are not penalised or have their GST free status eroded."

The Catholic Church conducts over 5000 retirement units and independent living units across Australia.

Proposed GST Tax Changes Complicates Aged Care Services (Catholic Health Australia 11/8/04)
Catholic Health Australia
Confusion over tax slug (Bayside Bulletin 10/8/04)
Call for aged care GST disclosure (ABC Gold & Tweed Coasts Queensland 29/7/04)
Ross Fitzgerald: In truth, Howard's often found wanting (The Australian 5/8/04)

12 Aug 2004