Impasse on tax

THE Western Australian Government has rejected calls from Federal Treasurer Peter Costello to abolish six taxes, including the phasing out of a commercial property stamp duty. When the GST was introduced stamp duty on commercial property was identified as a tax that could be abolished once revenue from the new tax system increased, however this has been unanimously rejected by state and territory treasurers. Treasurer Eric Ripper justified the decision by saying WA had more than met its obligations under the inter-governmental agreement and that when the state had the financial capacity it would cut taxes. The Property Council lobbied the State Government before the recent election to commit to abolishing GST on commercial property transactions, and executive director Joe Lenzo said inefficient stamp duties on property transactions were the biggest tax drag on the economy. He said that, over the next four years, the WA Government would reap $1.5 billion in GST revenues, and had ample capacity to deliver staged state tax relief. “Short sighted, politically driven red herrings that we are seeing in the debate could sabotage this crucial chance to reform our unbalanced state tax framework,” Mr Lenzo said.

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