Ruling 'confuses' backpacker tax issue

THE Federal Court has ruled against the backpacker tax law in some cases, labelling it "a disguised form of discrimination."

In the landmark decision Judge John Logan ruled in favour of British woman, advising the backpacker tax breached a treaty between Australia and eight other countries, including Britain.

The ATO said they would examine the judgement before deciding on whether or not to appeal, but advised that the decision would only impact working holiday-makers who are identified as residents for tax purposes.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers managing director Bree Grima said while she did not believe the change would affect many backpackers in our region, the backpackers tax had caused issues for major sectors.

"The majority of working holiday makers that come to this region would not be considered a resident for taxation purposes due to their transient lifestyle," Ms Grima said.

"This announcement therefore does not affect them and may be more applicable to other sectors.

"Backpackers also tend to spend their earnings locally which is great for the tourism sector and economic development of the region."

Ms Grima said the horticulture industry relied heavily on employing working holiday makers because while crops grow all year round, some seasons are busier than others.

"We are concerned this will create confusion for the industry and encourage all workers together with their employer to review their residency status to check if this ruling will apply to them," Ms Grima said.

The NewsMail contacted  Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt, but a spokesperson said he was unable to comment on the matter further.

"The assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar has said it was up to the ATO to decide if there will be an appeal and the government will await the finalisation of any legal process before considering if any policy response is needed."



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