Property Australia

Stamp duty land tax swap not such a simple fix


Swapping stamp duty for broader based land tax regime may sound like a good idea, but tax reformers need to hasten carefully, says Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison.

Morrison voices his opinion on the issue following recent media reporting and commentary. You can read Morrison’s views in full.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is among those to put the abolition of stamp duty back on the tax reform agenda.

“If the abolition of stamp duty was a football club, the Property Council would be the number one ticket holder,” Morrison says.

“It’s Australia’s least efficient and most unpopular tax. There is widespread agreement it does more harm than good.”

But he warns that swapping stamp duty with a broad-based land tax is harder than it looks. The ACT model, which is sometimes held up as a reform model, has been problematic, he says.

The ACT’s reform journey hasn’t led to the abolition of stamp duty with total revenue from stamp duty down by just one per cent after eight years, accompanied by big increases in general rates for homeowners and higher tax rates for businesses.

Morrison says there is no simple solution to Australia’s stamp duty dilemma.

“Abolishing this tax should be a top reform priority. However, a simple swap into a new land tax isn’t so simple and isn’t working in the ACT.”