The Tax Institute welcomes the opportunity to provide comments to the Victorian State Revenue Office (SRO) in relation to draft Revenue Ruling DA.065 Acquisition of economic entitlements in relation to land (service fees) (Draft Ruling).
In the development of this submission, we have closely consulted with our Victorian State Taxes Committee to prepare a considered response which represents the views of the broader membership of The Tax Institute.
At the outset, and as previously submitted by The Tax Institute and various other bodies, we reiterate our view that Part 4B of Chapter 2 of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic) (Duties Act) is overly broad and in urgent need of amendment to ensure that it brings to duty only those transactions which are intended to be captured. In the absence of these needed legislative amendments, we consider it all the more crucial for the Draft Ruling to expand on and clarify the current areas of uncertainty.
The SRO’s current website guidance on the economic entitlement provisions currently has helpful calculation examples. However, the Commissioner is not administratively bound to follow website guidance in his interpretation and application of the legislation. The Tax Institute therefore supports the issuance of a public ruling on this topic.
We consider that there is scope for clarification on several aspects of the economic entitlement provisions to ensure that the Draft Ruling encompasses common market transactions and provides practical guidance to taxpayers and advisors. We also consider that the examples in the Draft Ruling would benefit from certain amendments that better reflect commercial practices, ensuring that taxpayers have useful examples on which they can rely. Further examples highlighting the calculations taxpayers and advisors need to undertake will assist taxpayers in navigating the complexities of the economic entitlement provisions.