The chief executive of Australian ridesharing service GoCatch has ripped into multinational rival Uber for trying to avoid GST on its fares.
Uber’s loss in the Federal Court on Friday means its drivers must now pay 10% of their fares as GST – just like taxi drivers. Uber has not yet indicated whether it will collect the consumption tax on behalf of drivers or whether the cost would be passed on to passengers.
GoCatch chief executive David Holmes told Business Insider that Uber was always in the wrong for arguing that it was not a “taxi” service in the face of Australian law.
“If an overseas company thinks it is above the law, and essentially extends the middle finger to all and sundry, that’s when Australians will kick up a stink,” he said.
In response to the court decision, an Uber spokesperson said only that the company was “disappointed” and that it would be reviewing the judgment before informing drivers of the consequences.
Holmes speculated that Uber fares would rise, while comparing the multinational’s long-running resistance to GST against GoCatch’s practice of collecting the tax for its drivers and waiting until NSW and Queensland legalised ridesharing before launching that part of the business.
“It’s high time that the international bully that is Uber was brought down a peg or two – Aussie style. Big international bullies tend not to like it when the so-called playing field starts to level out,” he said.
Australian Taxi Industry Association chief executive Blair Davies said the federal court ruling was a win for “common sense” and that the ATO had never been picking on Uber.
“The ATO hasn’t singled out ride-sourcing drivers for extra or harsher treatment, it’s actually treating them exactly the same as everyone else who provides the same sort of personalised transport service,” he said.
Holmes urged Australian customers to consider their conscience before choosing any company to purchase goods or services from – adding that “the tide is starting to turn” in “a David versus Goliath” battle between GoCatch and Uber.