QLD Tax ruling on remission of unpaid interest tax interest

The Queensland (QLD) Commissioner of State Revenue has issued ruling TAA060.1.6—Remission of unpaid tax interest, which identifies the relevant matters the Commissioner of State Revenue will consider for remitting unpaid tax interest, and takes effect from 6 April 2017.

NT revenue measures for Budget 2017

The North Territory (NT) Treasurer has announced a range of revenue measures ahead of the Territory's Budget due to be handed down on 2 May 2017 including:

·       Changes to community gaming machine tax rates and thresholds, to return them to closer to pre-2009 levels. This means a reduction in thresholds for clubs and hotels in 2017-18. There is a further adjustment in thresholds and tax rates for hotels in 2018-19.

·       A rise in the stamp duty rate on high-valued properties, including commercial properties, to 5.75 per cent for properties valued at $3 million to less than $5 million, and 5.95 per cent for properties valued at $5 million and above. This will have no effect on households or small and medium businesses.

·       A moderate increase in motor vehicle registration fees.

State legislative amendments

·       The State Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (NSW) has passed the New South Wales (NSW) Legislative Council and awaits assent. The Bill amends Duties Act 1997 (NSW), Land Tax Management Act 1956 (NSW), Payroll Tax Act 2007 (NSW) and various Acts to permit disclosures to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

·       The Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (ACT) has been introduced into the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Legislative Assembly. The Bill amends the Duties Act 1999, Land Tax Act 2004 and Rates Act 2004 to give effect to decisions arising from the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Budget which include:

–    changes to the method for calculating rates and land tax for residential unit subdivisions,

–    the repeal of insurance duty legislation, and

–    a technical change to the rebate on rates for pensioners.

·       The Taxation and Related Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2017 (Tas) has passed the Tasmanian parliament and now awaits royal assent. The Bill amends the Duties Act 2001 (Tas), Land Tax Act 2000 (Tas), Land Titles Act 1980 (Tas), Local Government Act 1993 (Tas), Payroll Tax Act 2008 (Tas), Taxation Administration Act 1997 (Tas), Taxation Administration Regulations 2010, and Valuation of Land Act 2001 (Tas). Refer to this fact sheet for further information.

State cases update

  • In Danvest Pty Ltd & Anor v Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] VSC 125, the Supreme Court of Victoria has set aside assessments issued by the Victorian Commissioner of State Revenue on the basis that duty was not payable upon the acquisition by the appellants of their interests in a partnership. The Court held that the interests acquired by the appellants were not interests in dutiable property for the purposes of section 10(1)(ac) of the Duties Act 2000 (NSW). Rather, the interests the Appellants acquired in the partnership were rights to any surplus assets of the partnership upon its dissolution.
  • In Tay v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWSC 338, the Supreme Court of NSW has affirmed the decision of the NSW Chief Commissioner of State Revenue, and held the plaintiff was liable for landholder duty. This was based on the fact that the transfer of shares from a deceased estate were not acquired 'solely' as the result of the distribution of the deceased's estate in the ordinary course of execution of the will. As such, the plaintiff could not seek an exemption under section 163A of the Duties Act 1997 (NSW). However, the Court revoked the Chief Commissioner's decision to assess the plaintiff as being liable to pay ad valorem marketable securities duty on the transfer of shares from a deceased estate pursuant to a deed of family agreement.
  • In Spedding Estates Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 117, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has affirmed the land tax assessments issued by the Chief Commissioner of State Revenue, finding the applicant was not exempt from land tax for relevant years as the relevant land was not used for primary production. The tribunal held the dominant use of the land was for the applicant's business activities, such as wedding ceremonies, receptions, a restaurant, and short term rental of villas.
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  • In Triston Pty Ltd atf The Ghantous Family Trust v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 100, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal has affirmed land tax assessments issued by the NSW Commissioner of State Revenue, finding that the applicant was not entitled to the primary production exemption for relevant years as they were not satisfied that the applicant was using the land for the purpose of profit on a continuous or repetitive basis.
  • In Sharifi v Commissioner for ACT Revenue [2017] ACAT 24, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal has affirmed the Commissioner's decision to impose penalties on a land tax assessment on the basis that there was no grounds to remit the penalties.
  • In Grove Auto Electrical Pty Ltd as trustee for the R Foster Property Trust v Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] VCAT 505, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has affirmed the Commissioner's assessment of land tax on land held by the trustee of a discretionary trust at the trust surcharge rate because the trustee had failed to nominate a beneficiary by the applicable date and there was no discretion in the law to extend the time for making such a nomination.
  • In Lotus Projects Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] VSC 63, the Supreme Court of Victoria has dismissed the taxpayer's appeal and found that an estate, which comprised a golf course and club house (the subject of a lease), was not exempt under section 71(1) of the Land Tax Act 2005 which exempts '[l]and vested in a person or body' for certain purposes.
  • In Planet Red Pty Ltd v Commissioner of ACT Revenue [2017] ACAT 18, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal has substituted the land valuation decision of Commissioner of ACT Revenue in relation to the unimproved value of various blocks of land. The Tribunal considered the subjective features of each of the relevant blocks compared with the features of comparable sales to form a view about the unimproved value of the blocks