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Accountants call for abolition of stamp duty

Three out of four accountants are in favour of replacing stamp duty with a land tax alternative, a recent industry poll has revealed.

News Staff Reporter 24 August 2015
— 1 minute read

With tax reform squarely on the government’s agenda, AccountantsDaily asked 101 accountants whether stamp duty should be replaced by a land tax, and 76 responded that it should.

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Commenting on the survey, one respondent complained of inefficiencies created by stamp duty.

“Taxes on transfer of land title are an obstacle to the efficient use of land," the respondent said. "They should be set at a level to cover the costs of administration."

Earlier today, Simon Chun, partner at Pitcher Partners, told AccountantsDaily that he agrees and called on the government to broaden the base of land tax and scrap stamp duty.

“If you broaden the base for land tax this would mean that everybody would have to share in the payment of land tax,” he said.

In response to concerns that such a move would hurt those in lower socio-economic groups, Mr Chun suggested the tax be designed on a tiered system.

“I think you could probably design it so that it goes up based on a tiered tax rate system, similar to income tax. You could make the unimproved land value up to a certain level on your principal place of residence to be tax-free and then once you go above that that’s when the tax would kick in.”

Despite wanting to see the abolition of stamp duty, My Chun acknowledged that it will be a "hard sell" politically and may not occur any time soon.

“You’re asking people to change an age-old model of what stamp duty is to something that is more efficient and something that is more efficient that potentially impacts a much broader group of people, so it’s a politically hard sell,” Mr Chun said.

Accountants call for abolition of stamp duty
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