Coronavirus Land Tax relief system not working: REIV's Leah Calnan

Coronavirus Land Tax relief system not working: REIV's Leah Calnan
Coronavirus Land Tax relief system not working: REIV's Leah Calnan

The REIV has written to the State Treasurer, requesting an urgent change to the process that is currently in place for a commercial landlord to receive the Coronavirus land tax relief.

REIV President Leah Calnan said the current method is overly bureaucratic and greatly disadvantages commercial property owners who have negotiated a rent relief in good faith.

Currently, once commercial rent relief negotiations are completed, the tenant must complete an online form to enable the landlord to apply for land tax relief. Only the tenant can complete this form for the landlord.

Our primary concern is that there are no incentives or consequences for the tenant if they fail or refuse to do this.

The commercial property owner is at the mercy of their tenant to apply for the tax relief promised by the government.

The process is not fair for the landlord and their agent who have, in good faith, negotiated rent reduction for the tenant as per government guidelines but are unable to claim the promised land tax relief because their tenant fails to complete the form.

Ms Calnan emphasised that all stakeholders must be equally supported during this time. It is important to remember that the majority of landlords are mum and dad investors who are doing their best to support tenants impacted by the coronavirus.

An illustration of the bureaucracy around the process is evidenced by this extract from the State Revenue Office’s website:

Once you have completed the form online, you need to send it to your landlord. You can download a copy, or email a copy to yourself, which you can then email to your landlord, or send it to them directly by entering their email address on the final page, titled ‘Form Complete’.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria urgently requests that an alternative process be enabled to ensure landlords are not unduly disadvantaged.

In order to manage the financial impact for both the landlord and the tenant, the rent relief could be only initiated after the form has been submitted or even better, the process scrapped.

Similar process issues are also present in residential rent negotiations. A rent “agreement” should only be submitted when all impacted parties – landlord, tenant and agent have agreed.

The CAV website permits submission by one party where a true agreement may not be in place.

LEAH CALNAN is the REIV President 

Land Tax Coronavirus

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