Page 6007 - Week 18 - Thursday, 12 December 1991

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The change from lessee to lessor will take the ACT out of alignment with other States. This can be justified on the basis of the overwhelming presence of government tenants in the ACT. An estimated $400,000 will be raised in a full year from this change. Those lessors who completed negotiations with government agencies prior to my budget announcement on 17 September but have not yet executed the lease agreements before the commencement of the proposed Bill will not be disadvantaged as the Commissioner for ACT Revenue will be empowered to exempt such transactions from duty.

Mr Speaker, following representations from the Building Owners and Managers Association, BOMA, a joint Treasury/BOMA review was undertaken on the effect of the shift in liability from lessee to lessor. BOMA had been concerned that the move would provide a disincentive to commercial development projects as well as requiring a building owner to pay duty in a lump sum prior to the receipt of any rent. The joint Treasury/BOMA study revealed that, while investment in property was currently depressed, the ACT remained one of the most attractive centres because of the stable and expanding demand for office space, low vacancy rates and higher than average rental returns. On the other hand, it was agreed that the immediate up-front payment of duty could pose a problem for building owners.

Under the provisions of the Taxation (Administration) Act 1987 the Commissioner for ACT Revenue is able to give favourable consideration to requests from lessors for the periodic payment of stamp duty where the term of the lease exceeds three years. Under this arrangement a building owner who negotiates a lease for say, 12 years, will be able to initially have the document stamped but pay only the stamp duty in relation to the first three years. Every three years thereafter the document will be returned to the Revenue Office for further payment of the appropriate duty. Such an arrangement will overcome the problem of an immediate up-front payment and has the support of BOMA. I now present the explanatory memorandum for the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Collaery) adjourned.

BILL (NO. 2) 1991

MS FOLLETT (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (12.05): I present the Taxation (Administration) (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1991. I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill amends the Taxation (Administration) Act 1987. The Taxation (Administration) Act provides a single system of administration for a majority of the ACT's taxation

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