12/03/2008 - 17:30

WA's 5% stamp duty cut a step closer

12/03/2008 - 17:30

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Legislation which will cut stamp duty on conveyances by an average of five per cent across the board has passed its first hurdle, treasurer Eric Ripper announced late today.

WA's 5% stamp duty cut a step closer

Legislation which will cut stamp duty on conveyances by an average of five per cent across the board has passed its first hurdle, treasurer Eric Ripper announced late today.

Mr Ripper said the Bill delivered on a range of recommendations made by the State Tax Review, which would streamline complex tax legislation and adopt a broader, more efficient tax base, which in turn provided an opportunity for offsetting rate relief.

"This Bill is great news for Western Australian taxpayers and particularly homebuyers," Mr Ripper said.

"I hope it will have a swift passage through the Upper House."

He said the Bill would introduce a new landholder regime which imposed duty in a more consistent and understandable manner on land acquired indirectly through interests in company and unit trust structures; support businesses that owned WA assets in creating more efficient operational structures, thereby reducing costs; and introduce a general anti-avoidance provision to better protect the revenue base.

Mr Ripper said the reforms included the most generous entity restructuring exemption in the nation which would allow business to improve their efficiencies by restructuring without incurring stamp duty.

The reforms and reduction in conveyance duty rates are scheduled to take effect from July 1 if the legislation is passed quickly by the Upper House.

The Treasurer said the Bill also meant duty would no longer be payable on carbon rights and carbon covenants or when property was transferred as the result of a marriage or de facto relationship breakdown prior to obtaining certain family court documents.

However, Real Estate Institute of Western Australia president Rob Druitt said there was nothing new in the announcement, as Mr Ripper had indicated this "very modest reform" previously.

"This very minor adjustment to WA's high rate of stamp duty is very disappointing and will hardly be noticed by homebuyers," Mr Druitt said.

"It's difficult to say exactly how much homebuyers will save under this new regime without seeing the revised schedule.

"However, it seems that on a median priced home of $470,000, typical buyers will save just $1,000 as stamp duty is reined in from $20,000 to $19,000," Mr Druitt said.

Mr Druitt described the announcement as 'window dressing', saying the reform did nothing to address the serious problem of housing affordability.

"The government must wake up to the fact that its very high rates of stamp duty are now helping to feed the affordability monster," Mr Druitt said.

In a submission to the state government, REIWA called for reform to adjust the 25 year old scale and reduce typical stamp duty payments by around $5,000.

 

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