State Treasurer Tim Nicholls.
State Treasurer Tim Nicholls. Dave Hunt

Nicholls asks Office of State Revenue to look at Ipswich case

STATE Treasurer Tim Nicholls has asked the Office of State Revenue to investigate whether there have been any breaches of land tax laws.

Cr Paul Tully told the QT yesterday that "to avoid ripping off councils and the state government, I am calling on the State Treasurer Tim Nicholls to close the loophole which enables residential land to be artificially classified as primary production land".

Cr Tully is concerned that developers are reducing their land tax and rates payable to the state government and councils by having residential land "artificially" reclassified as primary production land.

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'Springfield Land Corporation (SLC) is taking Ipswich City Council to the Supreme Court over a dispute regarding new rating categories in the Springfield region, which increased SLC's general rates for 666 hectares of primary production land and restored them to pre-2014 levels.

SLC has placed 1300 beehives on land the corporation owns at Springfield Lakes and adjacent to Brookwater Golf Club after being granted permission by Ipswich City Council.

As reported in Monday's QT, the use of residential land for primary production has the effect of lowering SLC's land valuation from $88.3 million to $22 million.

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In SLC's case, Cr Tully said the land tax and rates loophole would cost council and the state an estimated $20 million over 10 years.

There is no suggestion SLC has done anything illegal on its land.

In a statement the corporation told the QT that "nearly $300,000 was…invested in establishing the primary production business involving native bees".

"The primary production activity was assessed by the Queensland Office of State Revenue and deemed to be a legitimate and fitting use of the land in question".

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Cr Tully said that SLC had discovered a major loophole to reduce it annual rates bill in Ipswich by almost $750,000 and its annual state land tax bill by an estimated $1.3 million

The application of land tax is based on the valuation provided by the Valuer General. Land tax is administered by the Office of State Revenue within Queensland Treasury and Trade.

When asked about the issue raised by Cr Tully in general terms, a spokeswoman for Mr Nicholls' office said that "the land tax provisions apply equally to all landowners".

"The Treasurer has asked the Office of State Revenue to look into whether there have been any breaches," the spokeswoman said.



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