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Volatility of stamp duty revenue prompts calls for a rethink

Property

Property taxes have again propped up local and state governments for the 2017-18 financial year, but reliance on stamp duty will be a roller-coaster in the years to come, data experts warned.

The $30.293 billion in property tax revenue was an annual increase of 5.6 per cent on the previous financial year’s figures. This is despite the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) latest figures excluding stamp duties on conveyances as tax on property, by changing the definition to a provision of goods and services.

Stamp duty

Over the last 12 months, stamp duty revenue fell in all states, rising only in Victoria and Tasmania.

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However, taking a more long-term view, stamp duty in Sydney and Melbourne have been a cash windfall for the local and state governments.

Stamp duty revenue in NSW is 89.7 per cent higher over the past five years, and in Victoria it is up 116.0 per cent.

Revenue has been less stable in Western Australia, where the housing market has largely been falling over the same period, leading to a -18.9 per cent growth on stamp duty.

CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher, points to the volatility of stamp duty as a source of government revenue.

“When the housing market is seeing increased transactions and rises in values, stamp duty generally rises and vice versa. The national housing market started to see values fall late in 2017 and, as a result, stamp duty revenue is largely unchanged in 2017-18 from the previous year,” Mr Kusher said.

Mr Kusher believes that state governments should move away from the tax altogether.

“With the NSW and Victorian governments seemingly going to be hit by a loss of stamp duty revenue over the coming years, it would seem that now is as good a time as ever to look to move away from this transactional tax,” he said.

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Volatility of stamp duty revenue prompts calls for a rethink
Property
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