Land tax revolt push

TAKING a stand against the State Government’s successive land tax hikes, Perth property group Mair & Co chairman John Mair is embarking on an advertising campaign to rally the industry into action.

Mr Mair, who was involved in the campaign against the deregulation of shopping hours, is inviting other land-tax payers to join the Land Tax Revolt and make their concerns heard at a government level.

The company is planning to fund a campaign designed to raise further money to lobby the Government and disrupt the collection of land tax revenue, with the aim of forcing the Government to restore land tax rates and exemptions to the level they were at the last election.

The campaign’s suggested ways of upsetting the revenue collection process are: querying valuations used in land-tax assessment; formally objecting and appealing assessments; delaying paying land tax for as long as lawfully possible; lodging a complaint with a local member; and donating to the Land Tax Revolt advertising and lobbying campaign.

Mr Mair said he had decided to act because their was too much apathy within the industry and it was time people took a stand against governments’ reliance upon escalating land tax increases to raise revenue.

He said it was discriminatory that one industry was “hamstrung” by a tax that had almost doubled in some cases since 1999.

For example, Mr Mair said land tax on his company’s headquarters had increased from $12,680 in 1998-99 to $20,355 in 2002-03.

In comparison, the consumer price index has only increased by 13.9 per cent in the past five years.

With a State Government election to be held in two years, Mr Mair also hopes to put pressure on the Opposition parties to formulate a land-tax policy to take to the election.

He said a lot of people voted for Geoff Gallop on his promise to not raise taxes, but while in government land tax, stamp duty and payroll tax had all been raised.

“We hope to get the Opposition to take this issue on and develop policy in regards to land tax,” he told WA Business News.

“We need to make it more widely known just how many in the community object to land tax,” he said.

“People have to make their views felt.”

Property Council of WA executive director Joe Lenzo said the council supported land-tax reform but described the Mair campaign as an aggressive approach.

The Property Council was involved in the State Government 2002 tax review, which yielded some improvements for land-tax payers.

As of July 1 the number of brackets used in land-tax assessments has been reduced from 10 to six.

“This reduces bracket creep and it is worth around to $6 million in savings to the industry,” Mr Lenzo said.

He said the aggregation of property in land tax calculations, where values of all property owned must be calculated in one lump sum – increasing the amount of land tax paid – was also an important issue for the property industry.

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