WA Government to bring in 10 per cent “Uber tax” on April Fool’s Day

Joe SpagnoloThe West Australian
The “Uber tax” is expected to start on April Fool’s Day.
Camera IconThe “Uber tax” is expected to start on April Fool’s Day. Credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP

The controversial 10 per cent “Uber tax” will start on April 1, the State Government has confirmed.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti yesterday moved to end weeks of speculation about when the 10 per cent taxi and on-demand transport levy would start, saying April Fool’s Day was the date.

It is believed that January had initially been pencilled in , but that IT issues had now made that date impossible.

Rita Saffioti
Camera IconRita Saffioti Credit: The Sunday Times

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“When the legislation passed I said we said we would look to have the levy in place in early 2019,” Ms Saffioti said.

“The April 1 timeline honours that commitment and ensures all operators and passengers have ample time to prepare for the change.

“The historic reforms provide a level playing field by stripping out other costs and boosting competition in the on-demand transport market, creating more choice for West Australians.”

The 10 per cent levy will be used to fund a multimillion-dollar compensation payout to taxi plate owners.

The timing for the taxi plate buyback is mid-2019.

Ms Saffioti said the Department of Transport was currently “finalising its IT systems for collection of the temporary levy”.

“All operators will be required to attain authorisation under the new system and to participate in the temporary levy,” she said. “If an operator is not authorised, they cannot legally operate.”

Uber has already said it will pass on the 10 per cent levy — which is on all rides — to customers.

Shofer last week became the first ride-sharing service to indicate it may absorb the Government’s new 10 per cent levy on fares.

It emerged this week that Swan Taxis was trialling electric vehicles — a move which could ultimately save it from having to slug customers a levy.

As part of new taxi reform legislation, there is an exemption for wholly electric vehicles to pay the levy.

A spokesman for ComfortDelGro, the parent company of Swan Taxis, said on Friday that potentially they could introduce an electric vehicle fleet by the middle of 2019.

“ComfortDelGro understands that electric vehicles (will) be exempt from the taxi plate buyback levy,” the spokesman said.

“If electric vehicles were to be introduced into the Swan Taxis fleet, customers would not only experience a greener travel option, they would also experience a cost saving.”

Ms Saffioti denied that Swan Taxis moving towards electric vehicles would have a major impact on the Government’s buyback scheme.

“We will be watching any potential electric vehicle trial with interest,” she said. “It is expected that any impact on the revenue collection over four years would be minimal and limited.”

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