Two taxpayers have been unsuccessful before the Victorian Supreme Court in seeking an exemption from duty in respect of a transfer of property under s33(3) of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic).

The taxpayers developed 2 townhouses through a partnership and their family trust. When the development was completed the land was transferred to them. The Commissioner assessed duty on the transfer to be $77,000. The taxpayers contended that the transfer was exempt from duty under s 33(3) because it was made solely because of a retirement, appointment of or change in the trustees of a trust and in order to vest the property in the trustees for the time being entitled to hold it. The Commissioner and then the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal disagreed with the contention that the transfer was exempt. The taxpayers then sought leave to appeal on questions of law from Tribunal’s orders.

In refusing leave to appeal, the Supreme Court concluded the taxpayers had not established that there was any real or significant argument that the Tribunal had erred. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the exemption sought did not apply.

(Michaelides & Anor v Com of State Revenue [2016] VSC 256, Victorian Supreme Court, Ginnane J, 19 May 2016.)

[LTN 96, 20/5/16]

Catchwords from Supreme Court decision

TAXATION – Duties – Transfer of property – Whether transfer made solely because of the retirement of a trustee or the appointment of a new trustee or other change in trustee – Whether change in trust property or estate in land – Effect of transfer creating tenancy in common – Whether transferees took as trustees – Findings of fact by Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – Whether questions of law – Leave to appeal refused – Duties Act 2000 s 33(3)