The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has affirmed a land tax reassessment that had been issued to a taxpayer for the 2013 land tax year.

The matter concerned a second reassessment of land tax for the 2013 land tax year, which had been issued to the taxpayer (a trustee of a family trust and conceded to be a special trust as defined in s 3A of the Land Tax Management Act 1956 (NSW)).

  • It was argued that there was a transfer instrument by which the taxpayer had transferred the subject property to a couple jointly (who were beneficiaries of the trust. (The Tribunal did question whether one of the individuals was in fact a beneficiary.)
  • The instrument was executed on 29 December 2012 in consideration of an amount of $450,000.
  • The transfer was stamped in March 2013 and registered in June 2013.
  • The taxpayer contended it was not the owner of the property at the taxing date.

The Commissioner argued that at the taxing date, the taxpayer was an owner of the property and the fact that it might not have been the only owner was not the point.

The Commissioner had disallowed the taxpayer’s objection to the first assessment on the following basis: the Commissioner accepted the couple occupied the property as their principal place of residence, but decided the taxpayer was the owner of the property, or at least had legal ownership of the property, at the taxing date and that there was no principal place of residence land tax exemption for a company or a trustee of a special trust.

The Tribunal affirmed the second reassessment. It said the taxpayer was at the taxing date an owner of the property even if there were other owners (although this was not clear) and as such liable for the land tax in respect of the relevant year.

(Frank Zakis Pty Ltd ATF Frank Zakis Family Trust v Chief Comr for State Revenue, NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Block SM, 26 February 2014.)

[LTN 40, 28/2/14]