SA-BEST convenes forum on State Government’s proposed land tax changes

22 July 2019

SA-BEST today announced it will hold a forum to discuss the ramifications of the State Government’s proposed changes to land tax.

SA BEST MLC and Treasury and Budget spokesperson, Frank Pangallo, said the forum – to be held on Sunday, 4 August (further details below) - was desperately needed to allow the major players to discuss the full impacts of the proposed changes.

The SA Government’s proposed land tax changes have sent shockwaves throughout the community – not just for those with multiple investment properties – about the effect it will have on the state’s economy.

“The State Government has got it wrong on this one – and it knows it,” Frank said.

“When many of his own MPs are threatening to vote against the changes he is proposing – not to mention many of his own party supporters and generous donors - Premier Marshall knows he’s bitten off more than he can chew,” he said.

“Not only will hard-working mum and investor investors be unfairly hurt, but so too will small businesses.

“What message does it send to potential overseas and interstate investors – investment in SA and be hit by the harshest land tax rates in the country.

“At the end of the day, any increased costs faced by property owners – whether they own commercial or residential properties – will be passed on to the businesses and tenants that rent those sites.

“While SA-BEST supports lowering land tax rates, it must not come at the expense of the state’s economic growth.”

Treasurer Rob Lucas announced the proposed changes in last month’s State Budget saying they would reap the government about $40 million a year.

From 1 July 2020, investment properties held in multiple trusts by the same person/family will be aggregated together, closing a current loophole where some owners hold their properties in individual trusts.

This will mean the land tax will be payable based upon the entire value of the portfolio, rather than on the individual value of each site.

The government’s proposed changes are designed to prevent property owners from paying less land tax by splitting their properties into separate trusts.

Land is taxed similar to a person’s income – where the percentage rate of tax paid increases depending on the value of their property.

By having various properties in separate trusts, decreases the overall tax needing to be paid by the investment property owner.

“The government’s proposed changes are an insult to hundreds of mum and dad investor who have worked hard all their lives to provide a strong financial future for their families,” Frank said.

“On a whim that wasn’t even discussed with his own party room, Treasurer Lucas is threatening the livelihoods of all these people,” he said.

“Some say the changes are targeting the ‘top end of town’ – wealthy individuals/families with multiple properties.

“That’s simply not the case - many who hard-working blue-collar workers who have toiled their entire lives to prepare for their retirements and/or to leave a financial legacy for their children.

“In some cases, the government proposed land tax changes will see hikes increase by up to 3000 per cent.

“That is simply disgraceful – and shows what a hypocrite Premier Marshall and his government is.

“When he announced the changes during last year’s election campaign, the Premier said: “Unfortunately, Labor’s uncompetitive tax regime is stifling business investment, discouraging businesses from investing their capital and creating jobs here. Instead people are investing in property in Western Sydney and other areas on the east coast, leading to job creation in those parts of the country. We need to even out the playing field and incentivise people to invest in South Australia.”

“I implore the Premier to revisit those words and reverse his government’s decision.”

Forum details:

 WHAT:                             Land tax forum (including a panel discussion)

 WHEN:                            Sunday, 4 August 2019 (midday)

 WHERE:                          Allan Scott Auditorium, UniSA City West Campus, North Tce, city

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