29th Sep, 2016
An individual has been successful before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) in seeking the principal place of residence land tax exemption for his home located in Shoreham, Victoria, despite being a “world-traveller” whose wife lives overseas.
In 2003, the taxpayer was left the property in Shoreham in his mother’s will. After moving into the property, he continued his interest of overseas travel, meeting and marrying his now wife, who continues to live in Canada. Broadly, for each of the five tax years in question, the taxpayer spent a couple of months in Australia at the property, with the balance spent mostly in Canada and other overseas destinations. He submitted that he considered the Shoreham property his “home”, where he kept “all his personal treasures”, among other things. He also noted “significant and communal family ties” in Victoria (including his three children and eight grandchildren in Melbourne) and “financial ties” to Australia.
In finding in favour of the taxpayer, VCAT said that in this day and age people are far more mobile than in the past, and it is not unreasonable that someone would have a base at a particular place to which they intend to return and resume occupation. In this regard, the Tribunal was of the view that the land tax exemption applied to the taxpayer’s circumstances.
09th Aug, 2016
A taxpayer has been unsuccessful before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in a land tax dispute in arguing that there was a “constructive trust” in relation to three residential properties. The taxpayer, a father, had purchased the properties for each of his three adult children to live in. There were agreements that the children would pay their parents rent and, upon the death of both parents, as specified in mutual wills, the property would be left to the respective child. The Queensland Commissioner of State Revenue assessed land tax on the aggregate value of the three properties as at 30 June 2013 and 30 June 2014 respectively. The Tribunal affirmed the Commissioner’s decision, holding that the taxpayer was the “owner” of the properties and it was not convinced that there was a “constructive trust”. Therefore, it held the exemption under the Land Tax Act 2010 (Qld) to assess separately trust land did not apply. In this case, the Tribunal hinted at the possibility that in future assessments the taxpayer could, on sufficient evidence, persuade the Commissioner or Tribunal otherwise.