Give back our money

By ED SOUTHORN

THE Tweed property boom is netting the NSW Government a massive, spiralling land tax windfall.

While Gold Coast property investors over the border pay no land tax at all, land taxes paid in Tweed Shire in 2004 totalled $8.85 million, according to research by property valuer Mike Danzey.

His latest figures show the Tweed land tax windfall for the NSW Government increased by more than $5 million from 2002 to 2004.

Sydney-based Mr Danzey was in the Tweed last week compiling the 2005 land tax figures for Tweed Shire, which, he expects, will show another big increase over the 2004 figure.

A long-time property valuer, residents' action group leader and former independent Waverley (Sydney) councillor, Mr Danzey wants the NSW government to hand back all its land tax income to local authorities, forecast to be $1.6 billion in 2006.

"The NSW government already gets billions of dollars in GST revenue and on top of that it collects these massive land taxes," Mr Danzey said.

"The government should leave all land tax to local councils, which are under terrible pressure to lift rates."

Land tax is levied on land valuations for investor properties. It does not apply to owner- occupied properties.

The NSW government recently reintroduced a land valuation threshold of $330,000 before the tax kicks in, at a flat rate of 1.7 per cent.

Because land tax increases in line with land valuations, it is driven upwards by a property boom, which can create problems for some investors who are cash-poor or highly geared.

Land tax bills are usually sent to property owners early each year.

Tweed MP Neville Newell yesterday said the NSW Government needed land tax due to ongoing "vicious" cutbacks from the Federal Government in grants and payments.

"Consequently, it is very difficult to give relief from land tax," he said.



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