Page 239 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 December 2016

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the case under the current system. The model saves administrative and IT system build costs. This means that taxpayer dollars can be focused where they are needed most.

The bill I introduce today removes the ACT Revenue Office out of the middle of transactions, reducing the staff-intensive task of issuing assessments for each transaction before it is complete. The single point of lodgement also simplifies the process for applying for concessions and exemptions. Anyone who considers themselves eligible, such as a first homebuyer under the homebuyer concession scheme, will simply claim the concession at registration.

As the proportional revenue on stamp duty declines in the future with the government’s progressive taxation reforms, it is logical to simplify the administration of this tax. Merely copying the current model to a digital platform, a system that was designed for paper documents, would not achieve the same community benefits. The bill makes a number of other amendments to the Duties Act which will enable the full potential of the barrier free model.

Firstly, the bill converts all nominal duty concessions to full exemptions. Nominal duty concessions currently require a token payment of $20 or $200 to the ACT Revenue Office. These small payments are just another barrier to a transaction. The bill removes the requirement to pay any nominal duty, making the process to claim an exemption faster.

Secondly, the bill consolidates several other exemptions which are duplicated across the Duties Act. Simplifying these will speed up the conveyancing process and make it easier for customers to determine their eligibility, yet another example of my government’s continuous improvement of taxation legislation and government administration.

Thirdly, the bill repeals all requirements for physical or electronic stamping before registering a transaction at the Land Titles Office. Because of the changes in the way we are administering stamp duty, stamping will become obsolete under the barrier free model. I am sure that members of the Assembly would agree that these changes are smart and practical ways to reduce red tape on our community.

Finally, to effect these changes, an amendment to the Land Titles Act 1925 will require the registration of a transaction if it is liable for duty. This is necessary to guarantee the ACT Revenue Office’s visibility of all transactions for verification purposes.

Mr Assistant Speaker, this morning I am going to go so far as to say that the barrier free model is a revolutionary reform to the collection of stamp duty. It supports both the territory’s taxation reform and our digital reform agendas, but most importantly, for everyone out there, it makes buying houses easier and it makes it faster. The bill transforms the way the territory collects revenue and is just one of many service improvements from the ACT Revenue Office. And the bill provides another example of how my government is understanding customer needs, reducing red tape and delivering faster, better and smarter digital services to the community.

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