The Victorian Government is introducing major changes to the commercial passenger vehicle industry. These will see taxi, hire car and ride share services operate under an aligned set of rules and create a level playing field for industry participants.

Here are the answers to some common questions:

When will the commercial passenger vehicle service levy commence?

It is anticipated that the levy will start in 2018 but the date for commencement has not been finalised. Further legislative reform is required to allow for flexible fare pricing. The levy will apply after the legislation comes into effect.

What is the commercial passenger vehicle service levy?

It is a $1 levy that will apply to a commercial passenger vehicle service transaction. Essentially, this means a single fare trip taken in:

  • A taxi, whether it was pre-booked, hailed or caught from a taxi rank,
  • A hire car, such as a limousine, stretch hummer or vintage car, or
  • A ride booked through a business that takes requests and connects passengers to a driver via an app, website or any other means.

The trip can be either booked or unbooked. The trip must start in Victoria. It doesn’t matter where the journey ends.

Who does the levy apply to?

The levy applies to you if you are a:

Booking service provider

This means you carry on the business of taking bookings from people seeking a commercial passenger vehicle service and connecting passengers to drivers of commercial passenger vehicles. It does not matter whether:

  • Your booking service is located outside Victoria
  • Who pays the reward or hiring fee
  • Whether the driver is an agent or your employee

Unbooked trip provider

You are either the:

  • Owner of a vehicle that is driven by an employee who provides a commercial passenger-carrying trip, or
  • Driver of the vehicle used to provide that commercial passenger-carrying trip.

Unbooked trips are trips that are hailed on the street or the passenger is picked up from a pick-up rank. An unbooked trip is different to a booked trip because it is not provided as the result of a booking service.

Affiliated service provider

An unbooked trip provider has entered into an affiliation agreement with you in respect of its unbooked commercial passenger-carrying trips.

What is an affiliation agreement?

An affiliation agreement is an agreement between a booking service provider and an unbooked trip provider. Services provided under an affiliation agreement are affiliated services.

An affiliation agreement contains an acknowledgement that the booking service provider will be responsible for lodging returns on behalf of the trip provider.

Who is liable for the levy?

It depends.

  • Booking service providers must pay the levy on each booked trip,
  • For an unbooked trip where an affiliation agreement is in place, the affiliated service provider and the trip provider are jointly and severally liable,
  • For an unbooked trip where no affiliation agreement is in place, the trip provider.

It is open to the booking service, affiliated service provider and/or unbooked trip provider to choose whether to absorb the cost or pass it onto their customers.

Who collects the levy?

The Commissioner of State Revenue.

Does GST apply on the levy?

GST applies on the full fare charged. If all or some of the levy is passed on, that amount forms part of the fare. It is not a separate item or charge.

Does the commercial passenger vehicle service levy apply to deliveries, such as food deliveries?

No. The trip has to involve at least one (fare paying) passenger.

You are liable to pay the levy – what should you do?

If you are liable to pay the levy, you will need to register with us. If you do not register with us and you should have, penalties may apply.

Levy payers must lodge returns and pay the levy once a quarter. You must lodge and pay your return within 30 days of the end of quarter. There are no extensions of time, and penalties may apply to late payments.

We are building a online portal which will enable you to register with us and manage your returns and liabilities.

More details will be added as they become available.

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