Western Australia accused of tax grab over land tax increases

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The Western Australian government has been accused of a tax grab over rising land tax charges in the state.

The Property Council of Australia (PCA) has hit out at the WA state government, claiming successive increases to land tax arrangements in WA are scaring off investors.

“Successive land tax increases have the potential to scare off much needed investment impacting not only the property sector but the state economy as a whole,” PCA WA executive director Joe Lenzo said. 

“Since 2013 WA’s land tax rates have risen by over 50% and for many individuals and businesses the actual land tax assessments have more than doubled because of the practice of aggregating properties into higher tax thresholds for assessment purposes,” Lenzo said.

While the slowdown of the resource boom has created some economic challenges for the state, Lenzo said the WA government should be focussed on the economic reform needed to help the state, rather than just looking to property owners to do the heavy lifting.

“The property sector understands WA’s difficult budget situation but without a reform plan the continual land tax increases are just a tax grab,” he said.

“For the third year running we are being wacked by higher land tax increases with no plan to help the property sector grow through WA’s changing economic situation,” Lenzo said.

“It’s just not good enough to slug the property sector to fix the State’s budget problems without giving the sector any hope that there is an economic reform plan to guide the sector’s and the state’s growth.”

While he is critical of current tax arrangements in the state, Lenzo said the property sector is more than willing to play a role in the state’s economic recovery.

“The property sector is ideally positioned to keep WA growing and tax reform is essential to maintain and attract new investment in the state.

“The State Government needs to come to the table and address the industry’s concerns or we risk losing out on lucrative investment opportunities.”

According to Lenzo and the PCA, the industry and the state would benefit from the removal of stamp duty and setting the state’s land tax at a flat rate.

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