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No End To Tax Talk

The death of the capital gains tax (CGT) proposal is good news for investors, but they shouldn’t assume it means they are out of the woods when it comes to new taxes.


1 June 2019

That’s largely because when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced there would be no CGT, she also said the Government would be working to tighten the rules around land speculation and land banking.

Further, the NZ Property Investors’ Federation was left concerned that the Government might opt to apply a virtual CGT on rental property – like another extension to the bright-line test.

NZPIF president Sharon Cullwick says that representatives of the NZPIF have now met with Housing Minister Phil Twyford to discuss the situation.

She says they think there is something further to come on land banking. “There is no timeframe for it and we don’t know what might be planned. But we didn’t get the feeling that a further extension to the bright line test is on the cards.”

While many people continue to suggest that the bright-line test might be extended, property commentator Ashley Church also believes it’s unlikely.

“The time to extend it out to 10 years has gone and the Government has said they aren’t likely to do it, so I don’t think we’ll see a change in that area.”

But the Government has left itself in a tricky position when it comes to addressing land banking, Church says.

“Both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, have definitively ruled out a CGT and yet the land banking measures being suggested are a CGT under another name. So how would that work?”

The most effective way to address land banking is via rates and they come down to councils, not the government, he adds.

“Whatever the case, investors should keep an eye on what is going on and be ready to act.”

The Government says it will be directing the Productivity Commission to include vacant land taxes in its inquiry into local government funding and financing.

However, it’s worth noting that the Government has endorsed the Tax Working Group’s recommendations not to introduce either a wealth tax or a land tax.


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