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Call to end ‘unconscionable’ stamp duty ‘profiteering’

by Reporter4 minute read
Tax cut, stamp duty reform, outdated stamp duty

A real estate group has called for stamp duty reform, accusing the NSW government of ignoring the damage caused by stamp duty premiums.

The president of the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW), Leanne Pilkington, has urged the state government to consider reforming stamp duty, suggesting that “outdated” stamp duty tax brackets be revised to better reflect the median house price.

Specifically, it outlined that stamp duty was designed only to affect properties worth more than $300,000.

“[To] date, the government has chosen to ignore the damage these outdated tax rates are causing,” Ms Pilkington said.

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“By doing nothing, the government is simply profiteering at the expense of the consumer.

“The government’s conduct in regard to this issue is nothing less than unconscionable.”

The REINSW head accused the government of expressing “disingenuous” sympathy for prospective home buyers and urged the government to reform its stamp duty arrangements.

“It is completely disingenuous for the government to express sympathy for our first home buyers and other property consumers and then rip them off without dated stamp duty rates. The NSW government needs to search for its conscience and fix these outdated stamp duty brackets,” Ms Pilkington said.

Ms Pilkington noted that NSW’s “Transfer Duty” brackets have not changed in over 30 years, citing the 1986 bill which reads: The increased rates for conveyances only affect properties worth more than $300,000 and thus will not affect the average home purchaser.”

The REINSW president said that current stamp duty rates do not reflect Sydney’s rising median house price, claiming that it is proof that the government is “ignoring” the market.

According to Domain’s latest State of the Market report, Sydney’s median house price now sits at $1,150,357.

Ms Pilkington noted that she believes stamp duty reform would benefit all stakeholders.

“Last financial year, more than $7.3 billion was collected in stamp duty, and [up] to February 2018, the government has raised in excess of $4.7 billion, on par with the same amount collected in the first eight months of that financial year,” the REINSW continued.

“[There] is empirical evidence available that supports that reducing stamp duty will create greater volumes of transactions which in turn generates more revenue for [the] government. This, therefore, is a win for the property consumer and a win for [the] government.”

[Related: FHB grants ‘make housing less affordable’, says ACT chief minister]

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