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Why are experts calling for stamp duty to be replaced with land tax?

By Ben Faulks

Stamp duty has long been a financial sticking point for anyone looking to invest in real estate in Belconnen and elsewhere in Australia. The topic has been the subject of much debate in recent years and now new research has emerged that promises to add further fuel to the fire.

Proposal to replace stamp duty with land tax

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) recently released a comprehensive report highlight the problems with the existing tax arrangement. Among other things, the study criticised stamp duties as discouraging mobility, impeding new buyers from climbing the property ladder and being unstable sources of revenue.

The proposed reform involves states and territories across the country replacing their stamp duties with a land tax. The organisation claimed that this arrangement would result in greater revenue for governments while reducing distortion in the property market and improving housing affordability across the board.

Is it really that simple?

According to Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison, the reform would create 5,000 additional jobs, boost consumption by $9.7 billion and add $3.3 billion to gross domestic product.

However, Mr Morrison also pointed out directly swapping stamp duty with a land tax would not be viable from a political point of view, as it would result in significant tax increases for many homeowners.

"There is no doubt that scrapping stamp duty would provide a major productivity boost to our economy, but we need a dose of political realism about how this can be achieved," explained Mr Morrison.

"ACOSS are right in arguing that the removal of stamp duty would need to be phased in and it could not be funded by a land tax alone.

The debate over stamp duties continues to rage. While the outcome remains to be seen, in the here and now your local Belconnen real estate agents can help you secure your dream home at an affordable price.

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