The Land Tax Assessments for 2019 are being issued by the relevant State Revenue Offices (SRO). Are they correct and are you paying too much Land Tax?
Each Council/Shire engages a Licensed Valuer for the purpose of valuing each property in their municipality in respect of:
The Capital Improved Value (CIV) – Land plus any improvements
Site Value/Unimproved Land Value – Land Only
Previously, this was done every two years, however recent changes are seeing valuations now done annually. If you conduct any building activity including obtaining certain permits, the council/shire can issue an Amended Rates Notice at any time.
The Council/Shire will declare a range of rates during their annual budgeting process that will then been multiplied usually by the CIV to determine the annual council/shire rates payable by the land owner.
The rates will vary depending upon the use and the relevant planning scheme that applies to the land. For instance there will generally be different rates per dollar for:
Residential Land containing a dwelling
Vacant Residential Land
Vacant Industrial Land
Native Vegetation etc.
You usually have 60 days to object to a Council/Shire Rates Notice from the issue date, with most objections being:
Assessed area being incorrect
Incorrect classification/rate applied
Property no longer owned etc
The Council/Shire then provide those two values to the SRO:
Site Value that is then used to produce the Land Tax Assessments
Capital Improved Value that is then used to calculate Vacant Residential Land Tax
The 2019 Land Tax Assessments take into account land held at midnight on 31 December 2018 and use the value as at 1 January 2018.
You also have 60 days to object to a Land Tax Assessment from the issue date.
In addition, as Land Tax is a self-assessment system you need to consider whether:
All the land you or the entity owns is included and the apportionment is correct
Dimensions and description of the land being valued are correct
Is any land which you have bought/sold disclosed?
If you receive multiple assessments for the same owner – for instance individuals name may be spelt wrong etc
Any exemptions are correctly applied – for instance primary production land, principal place of residence, exempt status etc
Whether Absentee Owner Surcharge should be or should not be charged
Whether any Vacancy Residential Land Tax has been correctly assessed
Land subject to the Trust surcharge has been correctly assessed
Correct ownership is disclosed – Trust as opposed to Trustees etc.
It is often easier to object against the Council Rates Notice as in essence this information is then fed through to the SRO.
Where the valuation is not appropriate, it is prudent to obtain supporting evidence which in many cases will include a formal Valuation from a Property Valuer to support a lower and correct valuation.
There is a cost/benefit assessment to be done when lodging an objection.
To assist you we can:
Review the Land Tax Assessments to ensure that you are correct – remembering that it is a self-assessment system
Consider whether the Site Value is appropriate and if not consider lodging an objection.
“At this time of year, I continue to see Land Tax Assessments which are factually incorrect and the valuations are not appropriate.
Given the significant movement in property values this year, changes in Land Tax are significant.”