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Key developments

  • Proposed property tax consultation
  • Senate Select Committee on Job Security
  • Electronic conveyancing in family law matters
  • Inquiry into coercive control in domestic relationships – question taken on notice
  • Charter for the Advancement of Women 
  • Thought Leadership

Proposed property tax consultation

The Law Society members of the Revenue NSW/Law Society Liaison, Business Law and Property Law Committees contributed to a submission to the NSW Treasury Tax Reform Task Force. We suggested that there is merit in considering a broad-based annual property tax but outlined three areas where further policy development should be undertaken before the decision whether to proceed with the tax is made: the future of exemptions, whether the property tax is intended to replace all duties imposed in connection with land in NSW, and the nature of the hardship scheme.

In our view it was important to settle issues around the continuation of existing exemptions under the duty and land tax scheme, as well as whether any exemptions will exist in relation to the property tax, before deciding whether to proceed. Where an exemption is available, particularly an exemption under the Duties Act 1997, the taxpayer is likely to take advantage of it and stay outside the property tax regime. Examples under the Duties Act 1997 include the exemptions for intergenerational rural land transfers and deceased estates. 

Whether the property tax is intended to replace all duties imposed in connection with land in NSW, or purely purchases of direct interests in land, was not clear in the Consultation Paper. Landholder duty in particular raises interesting questions, such as whether it will apply where the subject properties are in the property tax regime. The breadth or scope of the proposal in this regard should be determined as a threshold issue. 

We supported the development of a hardship scheme as noted in the Consultation Paper and suggested the nature of the scheme should be further detailed before deciding whether to proceed. We suggested that the existence of exemptions and the hardship scheme go hand in hand. We noted that it is difficult to qualify for existing hardship schemes and supported a more accessible hardship scheme for the property tax, which would have implications for the costs associated with the policy, hence the need for early consideration. 

Our submission also highlighted considerations for implementation generally, as well as the potential impact upon the conveyancing process. The Law Society has been involved in ongoing consultation with the Tax Reform Task Force and we expect to be involved in further consultation as appropriate.

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