MINING company OZ Minerals has become the latest business to overturn a stamp duty assessment by the state tax office based on the contentious ‘land rich’ tax provisions.
It joins companies as diverse as Brookfield Rail, AGL, Origin Energy, and Westralia Airports Corporation in appealing successfully against ‘land rich’ tax assessments.
In each of these cases, a key issue has been the definition of ‘land’ and whether it is subject to stamp duty.
The ability of other companies to benefit from these rulings is limited, because the state government has in the past made amendments to the Stamp Act to widen its coverage.
In dispute was the treatment of certain mining interests held by Agincourt in Indonesia.
The commissioner of state revenue included those interests when valuing Agincourt’s ‘land’ and other assets, and as a result assessed stamp duty of $7.5 million.
OZ objected to the assessment, arguing the ‘contract of works’ held by Agincourt in Indonesia was not similar to the mining tenements or rights of occupancy specified in the Stamp Act.
After the commissioner disallowed its objection, OZ took its case to the State Administrative Tribunal.
In a ruling handed down last month, Justice Sharp agreed with the objection and ordered a reassessment of the stamp duty bill.