Stretch hummer was a “limousine” subject to Luxury Car Tax

The Federal Court (Kenny J) has affirmed the decision of the Tribunal that a stretch Hummer imported by the applicant, Dreamtech International Pty Ltd (Dreamtech), was a “limousine” and therefore a “luxury car” for the purposes of section 7 of the Luxury Car Tax Act 1999 (the LCT Act).

The sole issue before the Tribunal was whether the stretch Hummer met the statutory definition of “car”, which expressly included a “limousine”. The Tribunal noted that “limousine” is not defined in the LCT Act, and as such, considered the ordinary meaning of “limousine”. The Tribunal concluded that the expression as used in colloquial speech involves a “vehicle considerably larger than a standard road vehicle, conveying a sense of luxurious motor transport driven by a chauffeur”. The Tribunal considered it appropriate to describe the Hummer as “a mobile night club or party vehicle”, and observed that promotional materials stated that the stretch Hummer would make a passenger feel like a “Hollywood movie star”.

On appeal, Dreamtech contended that the Tribunal made an error of law in its approach to construing the meaning of “limousine” as it was intended to be limited to “cars” in the ordinary sense of the word or light vehicles.

Justice Kenny rejected Dreamtech’s arguments, finding that the Tribunal had posed the proper question, namely whether the Hummer was a “limousine” in the ordinary sense of the word, and had correctly recognised that the addition of “limousine” to the statutory definition of “car” in the LCT Act was intended to make it expansive and cover luxury vehicles designed to carry more than nine passengers, which would otherwise not have been subject to LCT