ACOSS Call On Land Tax
19 April 2016 at 10:37 am
Welfare peak body, the Australian Council of Social Service, has called for a national switch from stamp duties to land tax in a bid to boost the economy.
The ACOSS proposal, The Case for Tax Reform: Stamp Duties and Land Tax, calls on the federal government to support state governments in designing and implementing the change, including by putting some revenue on the table to help with transition arrangements.
“If the goal of tax reform is economic growth, then the best reform option is a switch from stamp duties to efficient land taxes,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.
“This necessary reform should be implemented before consideration of further tax cuts to individuals or companies, at a time when governments have a serious revenue problem.
“The case for personal income tax cuts in the current environment is weak. The combined effect of eight successive tax cuts over the past decade is that people are now paying lower tax rates than they would have been before the cuts, and that will remain the case until about 2020.”
Dr Goldie said the tax switch would be a politically difficult reform that would require leadership.
“We also recognise that low-income earners and those who are asset-rich and income-poor, such as farmers and retirees, would be impacted and might need to be compensated. For instance, owner-occupiers who had recently paid large stamp duties could be given credits to make the system fair in the interim,” she said.
“The federal government cannot abrogate its responsibility here. If the Prime Minister is serious about a growth friendly budget, he needs to allocate some funds to support the states and territories to steer the path towards a broad based land tax in the interests of economic growth.”
Earlier this month, a partnership report by business and Not for Profit peak bodies in New South Wales called for a state-based switch from stamp duty to a remodelled land tax to boost housing affordability and jobs.
Making the switch from stamp duty to land tax would not only lower the cost of housing and reduce rents, but could also boost Gross State Product by more than 1 per cent and create up to 10,000 jobs, according to a new report from the New South Wales Council of Social Service (NCOSS) and the NSW Business Chamber.
Prepared by KPMG for the NSW Business Chamber and NCOSS, the report, Taking on Tax: Reforming NSW Property Taxes, outlined the benefits to the NSW economy of abolishing stamp duty on property transfers and gradually introducing a broad-based land tax.
The report said that in 2015/16, conveyancing stamp duty was expected to generate more than $8.6 billion for the NSW Government with a considerable share of this coming from residential property transactions.