Pecking order ousts chicken man

Tuesday, 30 March, 1999 - 22:00
IT'S out – the important decision that’s been stewing in the Federal Court and now has the retail world clucking with concern.

In a financial setback for business, the court ruled retailers were not entitled to a sales tax refund on foil-lined chicken bags.

After many hours cooped up with combatants – Woolworths and the Australian Taxation Office – Justice Hely noted retailers bought foil-lined chicken bags from manufacturers.

He said: “The manufacturer includes in his invoice to the retailer an amount equal to sales tax in respect of the chicken bags and subsequently remits that to the Tax Commissioner.”

But Woolies, never too thin-skinned to tackle the Tax Commissioner, argued it was entitled to claim a refund of sale tax on the bags because they were containers to be taxed at the same rate as the contents.

But Judge Hely found in favour of the Tax Man, rather than the chicken man, reinforcing the pecking order in the real world.