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LIV Taxation and Revenue Committee and State Taxes Committee – Tax Discussion Forums and Tax reform initiatives

LIV Taxation and Revenue Committee and State Taxes Committee – Tax Discussion Forums and Tax reform initiatives

By Legal Policy

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The LIV Taxation and Revenue Committee and State Taxes Committee gives members an avenue to become involved in law reform in the areas of Federal and State taxes, to contribute to liaison groups with the Australian Taxation Office and State Revenue Office, and to participate in Tax Discussion Forums held regularly by the Commercial Law Section.  The Committees next upcoming Tax Discussion Forum is with the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon. Michael Sukkar MP.

The Taxation and Revenue Committee and State Taxes Committee (‘the Tax Committees) are part of the Commercial Law Section and include practitioners from large firms and medium firms, sole practitioners, academics, Victorian Bar and In House Counsel.

The Tax Committees run various Tax Discussion Forums each month with presenters from the profession, other taxation bodies such as the Tax Institute, or Government representatives.  The topics discussed include key areas of tax policy reform, recent decisions in tax law, or practical observations in representing clients in taxation matters.

The forum is an informal roundtable setting where presenters speak for about 45 minutes and take questions from attendees on the presentation.  The next Tax Discussion Forum is to be held on Wednesday 9 September at 1.30pm with the Hon. Mr Sukkar MP speaking on, amongst other matters, the LIV’s land tax submission, the application of HomeBuilder in Victoria, and general tax reforms. 

In relation to the LIV’s land tax submission, in this submission the LIV examined the Government’s land tax relief provided during COVID-19 and sought further relief for Victorians noting the limitations contained in the proposed measures.  These limitations included the criteria to qualify for relief, the fact that the relief provided offered only a deferral of land tax rather than a waiver or discount on the land tax payable, and the fact that broader land tax relief had been offered in other States and Territories during the pandemic. 

Since this submission, it is acknowledged that the Victorian Government introduced a 25% land tax waiver and more recently has increased this to 50% for landlords that pass on the discount to tenants impacted by COVID-19.  In addition to the immediate reforms recommended by the LIV as a response to COVID-19, the LIV also recommended the Government take this opportunity to implement longer term reforms by undertaking a general review of land tax scales rates. 

In this sense, the LIV noted that the Victorian land tax sliding scale had not been amended for indexation or for any other purpose since January 2009 despite continued growth in the property market.  The LIV recommended the Government consider the current climate as a new opportunity to review the sliding scale to assist taxpayers facing longer term implications of the pandemic.  

In relation to the application of HomeBuilder, the LIV is seeking the Assistant Treasurer’s views on the program generally and the recent 3-month extension for construction in Victoria to reflect the current Stage 4 restrictions allowing home builders 6 months from the time of entering into the building contract to commence construction.

The Commercial Law Section’s Tax Committees remain committed to engaging with stakeholders and Government to seek relevant and affordable improvements to our tax system based on legal policy reform.

If you would like to learn more about the Tax Committees, or wish to apply to join to the LIV’s Tax Discussion Forums held by the Commercial Law Section, please email Claudia Lavery, Policy Officer at clavery@liv.asn.au.

 

By Commercial Law Section with contributions from: Neil Brydges, Chair, Taxation and Revenue Committee Nicola Crowle, Chair, State Taxes Committee Rob Parker, Deputy Chair, State Taxes Committee.


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