Gosford Classic Cars Closes
The Central Coast’s most unique car dealership, Gosford Classic Cars, is set to close following a protracted dispute with the ATO.
The dealership was set up in 2016, to be Australia’s biggest classic car dealership, creating a point of interest for people on the Central Coast, a sense of pride among the local community, stimulation of the local economy and many jobs.
Having consulted PricewaterhouseCoopers, a leading law firm, and after receiving indications from the ATO itself that the structure and entity fully complied with Australian taxation rules, the dealership has been caught up in protracted discussions with the ATO since 2016.
The dispute centres around whether Gosford Classic Cars is entitled to the same taxation exemptions as other motor dealerships.
The business has always cooperated with the ATO, diligently meeting its taxation obligations in full, and on time. In keeping with that (and despite their strong objection to the ATO’s position) Gosford Classic Cars implemented all interim measures suggested by the ATO, immediately upon the ATO suggesting them.
As a consequence, the dealership has not been able to market its trading business in the unique way which has made it successful as a dealership in the past. This has resulted in a significant loss in sales revenue, with car sales reducing from up to 59 car sales per month to as low as just 5 per month.
The ATO’s measures were expected to be implemented on a temporary basis. However, 12 months on and more than 2 years since the ATO’s ongoing audit commenced, those measures remain in place.
Without a conclusive answer from the ATO on why the benefits available to other motor dealerships are not accessible to the our dealership and given the expected lengthy timeframes for resolving disputes via litigation, the dealership cannot continue to sustain these trading losses and has decided to close its doors.
This decision has not been made easily. With the closure of the business comes the loss of over 40 jobs and the opportunity for significant additional employment offered by what was to be the region’s most significant commercial development:the Central Coast Council approved 7-storey, eco-friendly building at its West Gosford site, which it had intended to use for auto-related businesses, to act as the Australian base for specialist international auction houses, and a call centre. The business plan for this envisaged the creation of more than 200 jobs on the Central Coast. Unfortunately, those plans were put on ice as soon as the ATO’s initial opinion was provided.
“In a region where youth unemployment is above the national average, this represents a substantial economic loss for the region and a missed opportunity” says Gosford Classic Cars manager, Jason Fischer. “The factors that set us apart from most used-car dealerships meant that the business was well loved in the region. This is a major loss for the Central Coast”.
Gosford Classic Cars has now officially closed and the stock is to be sold in a (predominantly) no-reserve auction organised by Lloyds Auction House, on 6-7 April 2019.
The West Gosford premises are also on the market to be sold.