The Queensland Valuer General issued annual land valuations on 4 March 2015 to approximately 75% of all landholders in Queensland.  In issuing the 2015 valuations, valuations of landholdings will be able to be searched for free online until 2 June 2015, athttp://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/title/valuation/search.

With the Queensland Government’s increased scrutiny of land tax, landholders and their advisors should take the opportunity to utilise this online resource to determine the taxable value of landholdings and to identify likely land tax payable, so that appropriate provision can be made for any potential land tax liability.  If taxpayer wishes to rely on an exemption to minimise exposure to land tax, then the precise requirements of the exemption, as it applies to an individual landowner’s circumstances, should be considered to ensure that the exemption is available and can be properly claimed.

If shortfalls are identified for prior years, then consideration should be given to whether a voluntary disclosure should be made, so as to minimise potential penalties. The default rate of which is 75% of any shortfall.

Landowners are reminded that in Queensland there is no basis to object to a land tax assessment on the basis the landowner disagrees with the taxable value of the land.  Rather, if landowners disagree with land valuations then valuation objections need to be lodged by 4 May 2015 (60 days after the issue date of the valuation).  Objections to land valuations must include sufficient information to support any the value the landowner seeks to apply to such land.  A search of the online search facility will enable landowners and their advisors to identify the statutory valuations of comparable lots in their area.

As the Commissioner of State Revenue can’t be compelled to amend earlier land tax assessments, where a valuation objection has not been lodged, a review of land value should be undertaken on a year by year basis.  Any delay in identifying excessive valuations (on which land tax or rates have been paid) could mean a landowner will be unable to recover rates or land tax calculated by reference to the valuation, as reinforced by the recent decision of the Victorian Supreme Court in ACN 005 057 349 Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue (Vic).[2015] VSC 76.