Hundreds left in limbo over tax hike

HUNDREDS of Queensland-based businesses are in land tax limbo, with the State Government yet to decide which "foreign owners" will be slugged a new surcharge.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Queensland Treasury has been forced to withhold land tax bills for numerous top-end-of-town entities six months after announcing a new hit on foreign owners in the State Budget.

Industry experts have estimated up to two-thirds of buildings in Brisbane's central business district may be affected after land tax bills were distributed in tranches throughout August.

Treasury was banking on pocketing $540 million extra over four years from hiking the land tax absentee surcharge from 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent and expanding the definition to include foreign companies and trusts.

It is yet to be decided which “foreign owners” will be slugged a new surcharge.
It is yet to be decided which “foreign owners” will be slugged a new surcharge.

However, the Government has been unable to decide which foreign companies should cough up after committing to exclude those that actively contributed to the Queensland economy. The backdown came amid warnings of a foreign owner exodus.

Chris Mountford
Chris Mountford

Treasurer Jackie Trad yesterday insisted the vast majority of land holders were unaffected by the changes and negotiations with the property industry were ongoing.

"Treasury estimates the surcharge as proposed would be paid by about 300 companies and less than 200 trusts," Ms Trad's spokesman said.

"Consultation has been undertaken with a range of stakeholders in the property industry, and their submissions are being considered."

Queensland Property Council executive director Chris Mountford said while negotiations had dragged on, this was preferable to a rushed result with unintended economic consequences.

"At a minimum, we have been asking the Government to structure the framework to align with Victoria's regime to provide a degree of clarity to investors about where they stand in Queensland," he said.

"That is not to suggest mirroring Victoria's regime is a great result. However, being equal worst in the country at attracting foreign investment is certainly better than being the outright worst."

up to two-thirds of buildings in Brisbane’s central business district may be affected.
up to two-thirds of buildings in Brisbane’s central business district may be affected.

Shadow treasurer Tim Mander insisted the Government's "failed tax grab" could blow a hole in Ms Trad's mid-year Budget review before she had even unveiled it.

"(Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad are addicted to tax but can't even get that right," Mr Mander said.

"Jackie Trad's latest budget blunder is going to leave a black hole that Queenslanders will have to pay."


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