South Australia - no major bank levy, but increases to Foreign Investor Surcharge

Premier of South Australia (SA) Jay Wetherill has that the State Government will abandon attempts to introduce the major bank levy and will not take the levy to the next State election, or seek to introduce the tax if re-elected. The Premier’s announcement follows disagreement to the proposals to be made by the (the Bill). To fund the various measures originally proposed by the Bill, including payroll tax relief of almost AUD10,000 for eligible small businesses, the SA Treasurer has that the Government will increase the SA Foreign Investor Surcharge from 4 per cent to 7 per cent.

Victorian legislative amendments

The has been introduced into the Victorian Parliament. Amongst other things, the Bill proposes to amend:

  • The Duties Act 2000 (VIC) to correct possible anomalies in the operation of the foreign purchaser additional duty, and the calculation of the first home buyer concession, including amendments that ensure the additional duty applies on a dutiable transaction subject to a concession, such as the principal place of residence duty concession.
  • The Land Tax Act 2005 (VIC) to extend the absentee owner surcharge exemption to landowners that are trustees of an absentee trust, and provide rules to ‘look through’ a sub-trust structure to identify an absentee beneficiary’s ultimate interest in the trust land.
  • The Payroll Tax Act 2007 (VIC) to extend the exemption for wages paid to new entrants to ‘for profit’ organisations declared to be an approved group training organisation, and
  • The Taxation Administration Act 1997 (VIC) in relation to permitted disclosures of information and to make further provision for the service of documents.

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ACT introduces law to improve administration and operation of tax system

The Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (No 2) (ACT) has been introduced into the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Parliament, and proposes to amend various Acts to improve the administration and operation of the ACT tax system for the benefit of both taxpayers and administrators. The amendments seek to smooth administration of the Barrier Free Conveyance model, improve the clarity and quality of tax legislation, ensure a sound and fair tax system and harmonise legislation with other jurisdictions.

Tasmanian land tax amendments

The has been introduced into the Tasmanian Parliament to amend the Land Tax Act 2000 (TAS) to adopt a fairer, simpler and taxpayer-favourable approach to the manner in which the assessed land value of principal residence land that is used for purposes in addition to the principal residence is to be apportioned. The amendments are proposed to take effect from 1 July 2017.

Northern Territory release revenue discussion paper

The Northern Territory (NT) Government has issued a Revenue Discussion Paper which details a number of reform options that could be considered to secure its revenue base. The paper provides a summary of the NT’s tax and royalty systems, setting out policy objectives, along with economic efficiencies and inefficiencies of the current system. The options are not recommendations and do not reflect any policy proposal of Government. Comments are due on the paper by 28 February 2018.

NSW revenue electronic duties return form

NSW Revenue has issued an , including information about processing surcharge purchaser duty (SPD) on the EDR system, additional fields and functionality to calculate the correct amount of duty and where SPD applies, and requirements for supporting evidence and record keeping.

Victoria - vacant residential land tax FAQs

The State Revenue office of Victoria has a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the vacant residential land tax. The vacant residential land tax, which applies from 1 January 2018, is a tax on residential properties in Melbourne’s inner and middle suburbs which are unoccupied for more than six months a year.

NSW duty on transfer of property from deceased estate

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal in has held that duty was payable on the transfer of property from a deceased estate to a beneficiary under the will. This was because the sale of the property was not made as trustee under, and in conformity with, the trusts contained in the will, but rather as an executor disposing of an asset of the estate under a contract. Accordingly, the concession in section 63(1)(a)(i) of the Duties Act 1997 (NSW) was not available.

Land tax decisions

The following decisions relevant to land taxes were handed down in the last month:

·       The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Teebee Holdings Pty Ltd atf Teebee Property Trust v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 338 primarily considered the question of whether land owned by the taxpayer is eligible for exemption from land tax as land used for primary production. The Tribunal held that the dominant use of the land in question was not for primary production purposes, i.e. the dominant use of the subject land was not found to be the cultivation of trees on a tree farm for the purpose of sale. The Tribunal also held that as the land was not entirely zoned as ‘rural’, and it must also satisfy the ‘commerciality’ test in s10AA(2) of the Land Tax Management Act 1956 (NSW). In this matter, the ‘commerciality’ test was failed as there was no evidence of a significant and substantial commercial enterprise. Accordingly it was not exempt from land tax.

·       The Victorian Supreme Court in North West Melbourne Recycling Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] VSC 647 has held that a taxpayer was entitled to a refund under Part 4 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997 (VIC) of Victorian land tax paid, notwithstanding that the taxpayer did not object to the relevant land tax assessments, as the assessments were based on an incorrect taxable value of the land.

·       The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Samani & Anor v Commissioner for ACT Revenue [2017] ACAT 93 confirmed the decision under review to disallow the applicants’ objection to the penalty tax imposed on land tax assessed. The Tribunal held that there was no statutory basis that allowed the penalty tax not to be paid, and for the penalty tax assessed to be remitted in whole or in part.