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Inland Revenue

Tax Policy

Miscellaneous technical amendment: GST - Filing dates for special returns

(Clause 11)

Summary of proposed amendment

A technical change is being made to section 17(1B) of the GST Act 1985. Section was amended in 2007 to confirm the filing dates for “special returns” (being the return that a creditor must file when selling goods in satisfaction of a debt owing). An unintended consequence of this amendment is that the due date for the actual payment of tax related to the return was removed. Section 17 is being amended to clarify that the relevant tax is payable not later than the due date for the return.

Application date

The change applies from 30 November 2007, the date the 2007 amendment took effect to ensure that there are no periods for which the relevant output tax is arguably not payable.

Key features

Section 17 of the GST Act 1985 is being amended to ensure that output tax charged on a supply that is a sale in satisfaction of debt under section 5(2) is payable to the Commissioner not later than the due date for the relevant return.


Section 17 requires a person selling any goods that are being sold in satisfaction of a debt under section 5(2) – for example, a mortgagee sale – to file a special return in relation to that supply. Prior to an amendment in 2007, section 17 provided that this return was to be filed, and the relevant tax paid, on or before the 28th of the month following the month in which the sale took place. The 2007 amendment was introduced to confirm that the filing date for these special returns was the “standard” filing date for GST returns (which is not always the 28th of the following month). A consequence of this amendment was that the payment date for the relevant tax was removed.

The proposed amendment confirms that the person responsible for filing the special return must complete all of the obligations imposed on them under section 17(1)(a) to (c) on or before the due date for filing the special return. This includes the obligation to pay the amount of tax charged on the supply.