The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has set aside land tax assessments for the 2011 to 2015 land tax years issued to a taxpayer after finding that the principal place of residence (PPR) land tax exemption applied to his circumstances.

In 2003, the taxpayer was left a property in his mother’s will. After moving into that property, the taxpayer continued his interest of overseas travel and met and married his now wife who continues to live in Canada. Broadly, for each tax year in question, the taxpayer spent a couple months in Australia at the property, with the balance mostly in Canada and in other overseas destinations. The taxpayer submitted that he considered the property his “home” and that this was where he kept “all his personal treasures” among other things. He also noted “significant and communal family ties” to Victoria (including his 3 children and 8 grandchildren) and “financial ties” to Australia.

The Tribunal was satisfied that based on the evidence before it that for each of the relevant tax years, the taxpayer “always had the intention of returning to his home” in Australia and that the taxpayer’s absences from the property was “temporary” within the meaning of the legislation. The Tribunal was also satisfied that when the taxpayer returned home he had the intention to resume “occupation” of the property. The Tribunal concluded that the taxpayer had made out the PPR exemption pursuant to s54 and s56(1)(a) and (b) of the Land Tax Act 2005 (Vic).

(Ward v Comr of State Revenue [2016] VCAT 1307, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Davis SM, 4 August 2016.)

[LTN 150, 5/8/16]