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Goods and Services Tax Amendment Act 2005

Amendments to the GST Act recognise civil unions and de facto relationships between a man and woman, deferring the recognition of same sex relationships until 2007.

The amendments to this Act are in two parts. Part 1 came into force on 26 April 2005, and Part 2 takes effect from 1 April 2007.

The definition of "relative" for the purposes of the associated persons' rules already includes those in a relationship in the nature of a marriage. However, case law has interpreted that phrase to mean only opposite‑sex couples because same-sex couples cannot marry. Consequently, the Part 1 amendments to section 2A recognise civil unions and preserve the recognition of de facto relationships between a man and a woman. The recognition of same-sex de facto relationships is deferred until 1 April 2007 to give those couples time to adjust their personal and financial affairs, if necessary.

The real effect of the newly defined term depends on the context in which it arises, but generally it imposes extra conditions on those who are "associated persons".

The definition of "life insurance contract" is also expanded for the purposes of the meaning of the term "financial services" in section 3 to include civil unions from 26 April 2005 and de facto relationships from 1 April 2007.