08/08/2013 - 14:22

$6.8bn of tax, spending measures

08/08/2013 - 14:22

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$6.8bn of tax, spending measures

Increased land tax rates, more rigorous tax compliance, and the introduction of school fees for children of 457 visa holders are among a suite of measures the government has introduced to lift revenue.

It is also projecting big savings in public sector spending, primarily through measures designed to cap the government’s wages bill.

In addition, a range of capital work projects have been deferred, delivering expected savings of $1 billion over the next four years.

The most significant measure on the revenue side is a tax administration package, expected to deliver an extra $454 million over the next four years.

This includes bringing forward expected revenue, after the government said it would introduce legislation to allow the Office of State Revenue to issue interim assessments for complex, high value transactions.

The budget papers state that payment of stamp duty is often delayed for up to five years even though much of the assessment may not be in dispute.

The state tax office also plans to chase up outstanding payroll tax returns on a more ‘timely’ basis and conduct more payroll tax audits.

Land tax rates will be increased by 12.5 per cent, delivering an extra $338 million over four years.

A concession on motor vehicle registration fees, for private use of vehicles, will be halved, raising an extra $155 million.

Treasurer Troy Buswell said the large increase in the number of people in WA on 457 visas has put added pressure on the state’s schools.

The number of children of 457 visa holders at government schools has increased from 290 in 2005 to 8,600 currently.

The government has responded by imposing a fee of $4,000 per child, from January 2014.

The major revenue measures were announced in June and include a cap on government agencies’ salary budgets.

Further measures include a review of spending programs, to be led by a committee of directors general.

The rate paid to participants in the feed-in tariff scheme will be halved to 20 cents per kilowatt hour, saving $77 million over four years.

About $1 billion of spending in the capital works program has been deferred.

Affected projects include the redevelopment of Royal Perth Hospital, Fremantle Port Authority’s upgrade of infrastructure in the ‘outer harbour’ at Kwinana, and upgrades of the Gibb River Road, the Mitchell Freeway and Reid Highway.

 

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