In the matter of Skourmallas and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2019] AATA 5535 the Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturned a decision of Australia Taxation Office after it disallowed a taxpayers claim for input tax credits and decreasing adjustment, resulting in a shortfall of $65,652.

Mr Skourmallas was a motor vehicle dealer who acquired an Audi R8 Coupe as trading stock for a purchase price of $263,750.01. He subsequently claimed GST input tax credits of $19,809 and decreasing adjustment of $45,843.

However, these claims were rejected by the ATO which asserted that he was not carrying on an enterprise but had instead obtained the vehicle for personal use. Mr Skourmallas subsequently applied to the AAT for review of the ATO’s decision.

Before the Tribunal, the ATO relied on the fact that Mr Skourmallas did not operate from a car yard or showroom to support its claim that Mr Skourmallas was not carrying on an enterprise. Further, the ATO asserted that Mr Skourmallas was dishonest and not a credible witness.

The AAT accepted that while Mr Skourmallas could be perceived as belligerent, this did not render him dishonest.

In making a determination as to whether Mr Skourmallas was in fact conducting a business, the court noted that the low kilometres travelled by the car were consistent with it having been obtained as trading stock. Further, it accepted that despite lacking the features of a traditional motor vehicle dealership, Mr Skourmallas’ business model was consistent with the niche market in which he traded.

Ultimately, the AAT ruled that Mr Skourmallas was entitled to the GST input tax credits and luxury car tax decreasing adjustment. However, it did advise that Mr Skourmallas ‘prudently improve’ his record keeping.