On 9 August 2016, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decided largely against a taxpayer seeking the primary production land tax exemption for various properties over a number of years.

The taxpayer was a land developer and lessor of land. At relevant times, the taxpayer owned land at Lyndhurst and Clyde North, Victoria. The taxpayer sought exemptions from land tax during the 2010 to 2015 land tax years on the basis that the Lyndhurst and Clyde North lands were used or were being prepared for use primarily for primary production. The taxpayer also owned rural land near Shepparton, Victoria. It asserted that the Shepparton land was exempt in 2013 and 2014 when it was used primarily for primary production. The taxpayer sought the exemptions under the following provisions of the Land Tax Act 2005 (Vic):

s65:   Exemption of primary production land outside greater Melbourne.

s66:   Exemption of primary production land in greater Melbourne but not in an urban zone.

s68:   Exemption of land being prepared for use for primary production.

The Tribunal affirmed the Commissioner’s refusal to allow the exemptions sought for the Lyndhurst and Clyde North lands. A key issue was the lack of evidence to satisfy the Tribunal that the exemptions applied.

However, the Tribunal accepted evidence of a veterinarian for the taxpayer that oats were sown on the Shepparton land to fed lambs in relation to a commercial operation (not owned by the taxpayer) and accepted the oats were sown for the first time in March-April 2013. In this regard, the Tribunal refused the exemption for the 2013 year but allowed it for the 2014 year.

(Frontlink Pty Ltd v Comr of State Revenue [2016] VCAT 1339, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Glover M, 9 August 2016.)