Page 3814 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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1999. The bill will amend the Duties Act to clarify the duty exemptions and concessions that apply for the transfer of dutiable property in a deceased estate, if the transaction does not conform to the will. This will promote administrative simplicity and equity to taxpayers while providing greater understanding of these provisions to taxpayers. It will also allow trustees to better administer an estate in accordance with their circumstances.

The Duties Act will also be amended to increase the duty relief provided to eligible corporate groups which undergo a reconstruction. Currently, 95 per cent duty relief is provided if the eligibility criteria are met. This bill increases this relief to a full 100 per cent. This full duty exemption will reduce costs and red tape associated with corporate restructuring, allowing the transfer of assets without the impediment of tax implications. This aligns with the government’s priority of growing the economy, while aligning the ACT with other jurisdictions that already provide this exemption.

Amendments to the Land Tax Act will introduce a new application process for an existing land tax exemption. This exemption is available for a period of two years to corporations that are builders or developers, if the relevant parcel of land is used to construct new residential premises to be sold when finished. The Revenue Office has previously applied this exemption automatically, resulting in taxpayers being unaware of their tax obligations. In future, builders and developers will have to apply to receive the exemption. This will allow revenue officers to inform corporate builders and developers about the requirements of the exemption, thus decreasing the chances of tax defaults and penalties when the exemption ceases after the two-year period.

This bill consolidates the sale of land provisions currently contained separately in the Rates Act and Land Tax Act. These provisions allow the Commissioner for ACT Revenue to sell property through an application to a court where general rates or land tax have been in arrears for a number of years and all other debt recovery options have been exhausted.

The bill consolidates the sale of land system into one place in the Taxation Administration Act and makes a number of changes to the provisions such as the removal of obsolete provisions and provides further explanation on the sale of land process. This lends legislative and administrative clarity to the sale of land provisions. Overall, these provisions are important to ensure equity for taxpayers across the territory in the payment of general rates, while protecting government revenue.

This bill will provide ACT taxpayers with the ability to lodge an objection to the commissioner following a decision to refuse to remit interest charged on an assessment of rates or land tax. Currently, taxpayers do not have this right for rates and land tax, unlike other tax lines where this objection right already exists. The amendments in this bill allowing these objection rights increase equity and ensure appropriate taxpayer access to the objection process.

Overall, the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill will improve how the ACT tax system functions for both taxpayers and administrators, as it simplifies processes and reduces red tape. The bill will update legislation to rectify minor errors and clarify processes, while making amendments to better align the ACT with other jurisdictions.

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