Take care in passing on carbon tax says lawyer


As the Federal Government unveils the detail of its carbon tax, a legal expert has warned heavy-vehicle operators about how they pass on costs. <br /><br/> Bill Hazlett, a Partner at Hunt&Hunt Lawyers, has highlighted the need for operators to ensure their paper work is in order or risk prosecution if customers object to the way increases are undertaken. He notes that contracts can specifically allow the passing on of the costs of either permits, reductions in the fuel tax credit entitlement, or unit shortfall costs.

By Rob McKay | September 22, 2011

As the Federal Government unveils the detail of its carbon tax, a legal expert has warned heavy-vehicle operators about how they pass on the increased
costs.

Bill Hazlett, a Partner at Hunt&Hunt Lawyers, has highlighted the need for operators to ensure their paper work is in order or risk prosecution if customers object to the way increases are undertaken.

He notes that contracts can specifically allow the passing on of the costs of either permits, reductions in the fuel tax credit entitlement, or unit shortfall costs.

"The passing on of costs should be considered not only by the initial entity that seeks to pass the costs down the line, but also the entity that receives the cost increases," Hazlett says.

"Even if your company does not fall within the coverage threshold, you may be affected through a passing down the line of costs, and should review supply contracts accordingly to ensure you are in the best position to pass on, or avoid, cost increases due to carbon pricing.

"A company will risk breaching the The Australian Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) unless it has the documentation and price modelling to prove any price increase is directly related to a carbon price cost.

"That Act specifically prohibits, via the Australian Consumer Law, misleading and deceptive conduct."

He notes that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is to give "the highest priority to investigating and taking action against corporations and businesses that make false or misleading representations in trade or commerce about the impact of the carbon price on the price they charge".

Hazlett tells ATN that early readings of the Government’s carbon tax Bills that have just been made public has identified some changes and others were expected.

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rob.mckay@acpmagazines.com.au

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