Hundreds of residents across NSW continue to be taxed because of where they live.
In 2016 legislation was passed to create a land surcharge tax for foreign owners.
And now many people, including Highlands residents, have been caught up in this new tax as 410 retirement visa holders.
British Expatriate Retirees in Australia (BERIA) NSW coordinator Ed Cowie has been at the forefront of the campaign to make full time residents of the Australia exempt from this tax.
The surcharge tax has also been introduced in Victoria and Queensland, but only applied to people who own properties in Australia but do not reside there.
Mr Cowie has sent letters to every MP in the NSW Parliament and recently met with the policy advisor to the NSW Treasurer, on October 23.
“Other states have exempted principal residences instead targeting absentee owners therefore resulting in retirement visa holders being exempted,” he said.
At the meeting, Mr Cowie said he spoke to the policy advisor about several issues regarding the tax.
A proposal of a pathway to permanent residency (PR) was one of the issues addressed.
“The proposal from State Revenue and others that the 'pathway to PR' measure announced in the 2018-19 Budget will solve our problem, as we will no longer be liable when we achieve PR status, does not take into consideration that the timeframe to implement this measure and a small number of visa holders may be unable to get PR (due to health or financial reasons) and would remain on Retirement Visas,” he said.
The pathway to PR will be introduced this month.
Mr Cowie said there were only 792 individual retirement visa holders in NSW which amounted to approximately 350 properties.
He estimated the total revenue generated by the tax for NSW in 2018, based on average land values, would be $1 million of the total $43 million from all homes in NSW owned by ‘foreign investors’.
Mr Cowie described this as an “insignificant revenue stream”.
In May this year, Mr Cowie met with representatives from the finance minister’s office and the commissioner of state revenue.
He said he hoped to achieve a positive outcome from this latest meeting and would continue to fight for changes to the surcharge tax.
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