Property Council Pushes for Tax Reform

Monday, December 8th, 2014
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The Property Council of Australia has joined efforts by the broader business community to lobby the federal government to implement significant tax reforms next year.

Members of the Business Coalition for Tax Reform (BCTR) will meet with the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) on December 15 to commence discussions on the issue in advance of the Coalition’s review of the country’s tax regime next year.

Property is just one of the industries represented by BCTR, which also includes members of the mining, financial services, retail, charity and non-for-profit sectors.

BCTR is pushing for more substantial tax reform, which it believes is necessary for more “inclusive growth.”

“If we are to effect meaningful tax reform in Australia and encourage inclusive growth that benefits both business and the community, we need to present a case for change,” said BCTR chairman Tom Pockett.

According to the coalition, the participation of a broad range of business and industries is needed in order to best explore options for amendments to Australia’s tax system.

“Change will only be achieved when we have open dialogue between all the stakeholders about what this reform should look like and what its impacts may be,” Pockett said.

“To ensure we get a wide range of views on this key issue, the forum will include representatives from key business and industry bodies, a range of civil society and community organisations, and independent academic and policy experts.”

Tax reforms are particularly relevant for the real estate sector given the extent to which they impact property transactions by foreign investors, who are playing a role of greater importance within the Australian market.

The Australian Tax Office recently unveiled a plan to require buyers of property worth more than AU$2.5 million from overseas owners to withhold 10 per cent as a part of a foreign resident capital gains tax.

The proposal is intended to ensure that foreign nationals investing in Australia comply with Australian tax laws, and that taxes can be collected in the absence of continual residence or the lodging of tax returns domestically.

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