Amendments to duty law in Tasmania
The Duties Amendment (Landholder and Corporate Reconstruction and Consolidation) Bill 2016 received Royal Assent in December 2016 and amends the Duties Act 2001 (Tas) in relation to the duty liability for indirect transfers of land. The amendments change the assessment of liability from a land-rich model to a landholder model, bringing Tasmania in line with similar provisions applied by other states.
NSW releases revenue ruling on interpretation of “foreign person”
The New South Wales Office of State Revenue has issued Revenue Ruling No. G 009 concerning the Chief Commissioner's interpretation of "foreign person" for both the duty surcharge on acquisitions of NSW residential land by foreign persons from 21 June 2016, and for land tax purposes from the 2017 year.
South Australian stamp duty on foreign currency transactions
Revenue South Australia has released Information Circular No: 97 which deals with stamp duty in relation to foreign currency transactions. According to the Circular where an instrument that is chargeable with ad valorem duty is expressed in a foreign currency, the duty payable (which is based upon the conversion of such currency to Australian dollars pursuant to section 103 of the Taxation Administration Act 1996 (SA)) is to be determined at the Australian dollar equivalent using the exchange rate published by the Reserve Bank of Australia as at the date on which the liability to pay the tax arose, or if the rate is not published for a given date, the last earlier date on which the rate was published.
NSW land tax rulings
The NSW office of State Revenue has released the following land tax rulings which provide exemptions in accordance with the Land Tax Management Act 1956 (NSW):
• LT 100 Exemption - Land Used and Occupied Primarily for a Boarding House - 2017 Tax Year, which provides a land tax exemption or a reduction in the land value of the land is available if land is used and occupied primarily as a boarding house
• LT 101 Exemption - Land Used and Occupied Primarily for Low Cost Accommodation - 2017 Tax Year, which provides a land tax exemption where land is situated within a 5 kilometre radius of the Sydney GPO is used and occupied primarily for low-cost accommodation (other than as a boarding house).
Land tax exemption not applicable
The Supreme Court of Victoria – Court of Appeal in Rainn Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue has dismissed the applicant’s appeal against the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s decision which affirmed the Commissioner of State Revenue’s assessment of land tax on the basis that the land was not exempt under section 66 of the Land Tax Act 2005 (Vic) because it was not ‘used primarily for primary production’.
The Court found it was not reasonably arguable that the Tribunal made an error of law. The Court found that the Tribunal’s approach in determining the question of whether land was exempt land as at midnight on 31 December immediately preceding the tax year in question was correct. Furthermore, the Court agreed with the Tribunal’s consideration of whether inactivity could nevertheless be shown to have been connected to any prior or subsequent primary production activity, and its conclusion that the land was not ‘in use’ primarily for primary production at the assessment date.