The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has affirmed a decision of the Commissioner of State Revenue (Vic) to assess duty on 2 transfers of land based on an aggregated dutiable value pursuant to s24 of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic).

The taxpayers (mother and son) purchased on the same day a property referred to as the “land contract” and another property referred to as the “house contract”. The “house contract” contained a special condition requiring the purchasers to also purchase the property under the “land contract”. The transfers for both transactions took place on the same day.

The Commissioner formed the view that the land contract and the house contract were, substantially, one arrangement relating to all of the items or parts of the dutiable property. The transactions were therefore aggregated pursuant to s24 and duty assessed on that basis. The taxpayers maintained that the house and land transfers should not be aggregated. The Tribunal noted correspondence from the agent who negotiated the sale of the land and the house indicated that both properties were offered on the open market separately and concurrently.

The Tribunal said it was clear that in this case one contract was dependent on the other. Accordingly, it concluded there was substantially one arrangement as the transactions were not separate and independent. The concurrence of parties, contract dates, settlement dates and dates of transfers add to the substance of the conclusion, it said.

(Nanos & Anor v Comr of State Revenue (Review and Regulation) [2015] VCAT 328, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Butcher SM, 24 March 2015.)

[LTN 63, 2/4/15]