A taxpayer has, in the main, been successful before the SA Supreme Court in a matter concerning the primary production land tax exemption.

The taxpayer owned 5 hectares of land. It created a residential subdivision on 3.5 hectares of the land and by 30 June 2005 had sold all but 2 residential allotments. It developed an olive grove on the remaining 1.5 hectares (“the Land”). In August 2009, the Commissioner of State Taxation (SA) issued to the taxpayer documents the Commissioner contended comprised notice of land tax assessments for 2004-05 to 2008-09. The taxpayer objected claiming it was entitled to the primary production exemption under s 5(10)(g) of the Land Tax Act 1936 (SA) in respect of the Land. The Minister disallowed the objection and confirmed the assessments.

Before the Supreme Court, the taxpayer appealed against the assessments for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 years. The taxpayer raised various contentions, including that the documents issued by the Commissioner in August 2009 did not constitute notices of assessment of land tax within the meaning of the Taxation Administration Act 1996 (SA) for any year except 2008-09.

The Supreme Court said it was not open to an appellant on an appeal under s 92 of the Taxation Administration Act against an assessment to contend that there was no assessment. Any such challenge must be brought by way of judicial review proceedings, it said.

However, the Supreme Court concluded the taxpayer was entitled to the primary production exemption under s (10)(g)(vi). It allowed the appeal and set aside the land tax assessments for 2005-06 and 2006-07.

(T & S Liapis Pty Ltd v Comr of State Taxation [2015] SASC 63, SA Supreme Court, Blue J, 22 April 2015.)

[LTN 80, 29/4/15]