The WA State Administrative Tribunal has held that a property owned by a taxpayer was used principally for a rural business and therefore exempt from land tax for the 2008-09 to 2011-12 financial years.

The taxpayer was the owner of a plant nursery business. The Commissioner had until June 2011 exempted one of the taxpayer’s places of business from land tax on the basis that the land was used for a rural business. However, following an audit of the use of the land, the Commissioner decided that the land was not entirely used by the taxpayer for a rural business for the relevant years, and that the exemption was not applicable for most of the land.

The Tribunal considered the actual use of the land during the relevant years and noted that during that time the taxpayer was implementing a decision to grow plants in-ground on the land and undertake certain measures (eg clearing of limestone and bluemetal, etc). The Tribunal was of the view that although the land generated little produce during those years, it was still being used for the taxpayer’s rural business and that therefore the land tax exemption applied.

(Quito Pty Ltd and Comr of State Revenue [2014] WASAT 8, WA State Administrative Tribunal, Sharp DP, 17 January 2014.)

[LTN 17, 28/1//14]