Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 1 Hansard (15 December) . .
Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (No 2)
Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (11.29): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
Today I am very pleased to introduce a bill to implement reforms to the territory's revenue collection system. The ACT Revenue Office is responsible for collecting over $1.3 billion annually in taxes and levies, which go to fund vital health, education and other community services for Canberrans.
As part of the digital Canberra action plan, the government invested $30 million in the revenue collection transformation program. This program has been revamping the ACT Revenue Office to deliver better, faster and smarter services. The Revenue Office will deliver improved services supported by a robust IT platform. The bill I am introducing today contains a significant reform to achieve that future: the "barrier free" model for collecting conveyance duty.
Mr Assistant Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to talk about the long history of stamp duty. In its original form, stamp duty was a tax on a written document. A physical stamp was affixed to a document when the tax was paid. This was, at the time, a revenue protection measure. It meant that the liability to pay stamp duty on a conveyance arose on the date that the contracts for sale were exchanged; that is, at the start of the transaction. The stamp would be evidence of payment to anyone who sighted the document.
I am pleased to say that this bill goes back to basics. It introduces a new model of collecting conveyance duty which takes advantage of our unique characteristics in the territory to reduce red tape for the community. It amends the Duties Act 1999 to move the point of taxation to the end of the transaction: that is, after settlement.
The barrier free model creates a single point of lodgement at Access Canberra when a title is registered after settlement. Access Canberra will collect information on behalf of the ACT Revenue Office so that assessments can be issued without further delay. Customers will be given 14 days after registration to pay.
The barrier free model has many advantages over the traditional process. For the customer, the model greatly reduces red tape. The Revenue Office is no longer a barrier in the conveyance process. Waiting periods are shorter, and transactions are turned around much faster. But there is also a significant cash flow advantage for purchasers, especially for those buying off the plan. Stamp duty will only be payable after registration, as opposed to several years before moving into the property, as is
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