South Australian legislative developments

The following Bills, which have indirect tax consequences, have progressed in the South Australian Parliament:

  • The Budget Measures Bill 2017 (SA) (the Bill) has passed the South Australian House of Assembly without amendment and will now move to the Legislative Council. The Bill proposes to give effect to various 2017-18 SA budget measures, including the South Australian major bank levy.
  • The Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Simplify No 2) Bill 2017 (SA) has been introduced into the South Australian Parliament and proposes amendments to the Stamp Duties Act 1923 (SA). The Bill proposes to extend the family farm exemption provisions to include transfers to and from companies, in addition to individuals and trusts, where all other existing criteria are met. This amendment is intended to result in equal treatment for stamp duty on family farm transfers, regardless of how the property is held.

Relief from Victorian stamp duty

The Supreme Court of Victoria (the Court) in Mondous v Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] VSC 416 has allowed an appeal by the taxpayers from the decision of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), finding that stamp duty was not to be imposed in relation to a transfer of land. The Court disagreed with VCAT and held that Exemption (10) in Heading VI of the Third Schedule to the Stamps Act 1958 (VIC) (dealing with certain conveyances of real property, subject to a trust, to a beneficiary) applied to relieve the transfer from duty. Specifically, it found that VCAT had failed to find the transfer constituted a conveyance of the land to the taxpayers in their capacity as beneficiaries of a bare trust, which arose from the transfer of the equitable estate in land to them under an initial transfer.

Land tax on accommodation

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) in Perry Properties Pty Ltd v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 235 has held that the applicant was liable for land tax in respect of two properties with boarding houses. The Tribunal found the relevant properties were not entitled to ‘low cost accommodation’ exemption under the guidelines set out in Revenue Rulings LT 095 and LT 098. This was because the applicant’s accommodation charges, which were imposed on a per bed basis, exceeded the limits set out in the Revenue Rulings on a per room basis, where the amount charged per room is the sum of the amounts charged per bed in that room.