Property group welcomes WA land tax announcement

The Property Council of Australia (PCA) has welcomed an indication from the Western Australia government that it is considering addressing current land tax issues in the state.

Speaking at a business breakfast hosted by Business News last week, WA premier Colin Barnet said the 2016 budget would result in no tax increases for the state, an announcement that has been welcomed by the PCA.

In November 2015, the PCA claimed land tax rates in WA had increased by 50% since 2013 and accused the state government of a "tax grab."

Though they welcome the announcement that tax rates will not rise in the 2016/17 financial year, the PCA still believes there is a pressing need for the government to address the current land tax arrangements.

“It’s great that the WA Government has finally realised that unfair property taxes, like the distorted land tax system is hurting the wider economy,” PCA WA deputy executive director Lino Iacomella.

“After slugging the WA property sector with three successive annual land tax increases, reform of land tax in 2016 is a massive priority,” Iacomella said.

Iacomella said the PCA hopes to speak with the government in an attempt to find a solution, particularly around the practice of aggregating properties for tax purposes.

“Land tax aggregation is hugely unfair and discriminates against investors that own more than one property, often the effective land tax rate can double as the aggregated property holdings are taxed at higher rates.

“The solution is simple; each property should only be taxed individually and the number of higher thresholds should be reduced and ultimately a single rate of land tax should apply.

“This will attract more long-term productive investment in property which is particularly necessary to boost the economy and keep WA growing.”
 

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