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Stamp out stamp duty

THE pre-election commitment to the Property Council, by the new Labor Government, to undertake a State business tax review within the first year of its term presents the property industry with the best opportunity to achieve a more balanced tax regime.

The property industry in WA is overtaxed. By the end of the term of the Coalition Government, WA land taxes and stamp duties associated with property had reached 35.4 per cent of the total tax take – greater than the much maligned payroll tax at 29.1 per cent.

Stamp duty on property conveyances rose by 46 per cent since 1993-94 and land taxes rose by 44.2 per cent in the same period.

In the past two years, the State Government pocketed a stamp duty windfall of $104 million over and above its forecast income. The tax has clearly become a revenue bonanza for the State, despite the fact that WA along with the other States and Territories originally promised to abolish stamp duty when the GST was introduced.

With the States set to receive a massive bundle of GST revenue, the time has come to give stamp duty the boot.

Independent research undertaken by Access Economics shows there is no better way of increasing jobs and investment than abolishing stamp duty on commercial property transactions.

The Property Council will be a keen participator in the promised WA business tax review.

n Joe Lenzo is executive director of the Property Council

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