urban raptor
Creative Commons License photo credit: mugley

The plot thickens with Glenn Milne reporting

THE Federal Government’s biggest tax inquiry in more than two decades is set to propose a national land tax, a new resource tax and a congestion tax for clogged cities.

The Henry Review, by Treasury head Ken Henry, is also expected to canvass a federal clawback of GST revenues, which now go entirely to the states, to fund the Government’s proposed takeover of the public hospital system.

Dr Henry’s report, due at the end of the month, is also believed to favour a national payroll tax to replace the state system.

One of its controversial proposals is for a national land tax to replace state-based stamp duties payable on the sale of homes and investment properties.

A national land tax would open up the Government to claims of taxing the family home. But it could mean big savings for many Victorians – for houses priced $550,000 and under Victorian homebuyers pay $14,370 more in stamp duty than Queenslanders.

There are many other advantages of a move towards a Land Tax, especially the signal it sends our bloated property market that land speculation is a destructive practice. Such a replacement of stamp duties will remove an impediment to property turnover, helping the market reach a truer price discovery. The efficiency gains this will deliver are undeniable amongst independent economists.

With foreign investment in property growing, having a uniform Land Tax rate will assist the people in sharing from the ever increasing value of land. It also signals in a globalised world where capital is just so mobile, that a Land Tax is the fairest way to ensure that all pay their fair share. Wealth cannot be off-shored under this system.

The move towards a resource rent tax on mining companies is another admission that the earth’s scarce resources are part of our common wealth. Why should workers be taxed so that the privileged can make money in their sleep through resource speculation and hoarding? Check some of our recent tax submissions.

An interesting Christmas break to come…