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Don’t forget to add tax

THE ACCC is reminding businesses they should include GST in the prices of goods and services they advertise.

Advertisers who fail to comply may find themselves answering to the court.

The ACCC GST Price Line continues to receive complaints about businesses not including GST in their advertised prices.

Of particular concern are menus in cafes, restaurants and takeaways that quote prices for individual items, and then have ‘plus GST’ at the bottom of the menu. The service sector, such as telephone information services using 1900 numbers (like psychic lines) are also generating a lot of complaints.

Not including the GST component in a price means that consumers only receive part of the price information. Businesses must remember that failing to make the total price to be paid clear is likely to mislead consumers and breach the Trade Practices Act.

The important thing to remember is that where a price is quoted, it must be clear to the consumer exactly how much they will be expected to pay for the good or service.

Under Australian law, where the price on the bill or at the cash register is different to what was advertised is illegal. This has always been the case under the Trade Practices Act.

It must be remembered that the penalties for breaching the Trade Practices Act can be up to $200,000 for businesses and $40,000 for individuals.

If you would like more information about prices or how the ACCC can help you to comply with the New Tax System, please visit our website at http://gst.accc.gov.au or call our GST Price Line on 1300 302 502 for the cost of a local call.

l Professor Allan Fels is chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

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