Real estate tax debate set to heat up in 2015

The industry’s peak body has revealed it has been lobbying the federal government about negative gearing and stamp duty.

Real Estate Institute of Australia chief executive Amanda Lynch said 2015 would be an important year for tax reform, with the terms of reference for a national tax review set to be announced early in the year.

“As an organisation, we have been following this issue very closely, and we have already commenced conversations with key government figures regarding the retention of negative gearing and changes to stamp duty levels,” she told Real Estate Business.

“We have also been conducting our own research to paint a picture of who Australia’s property investors are that access negative gearing.”

Ms Lynch said the association’s research shows that these investors are overwhelmingly "mum-and-dad" types who purchase a single rental property as a means to help secure their retirement.

She said it would be absurd to treat property differently to any other investment option, such as shares, which can also be negatively geared.

“Expect to hear much more from REIA on this matter as the year progresses,” Ms Lynch said.

“We will also be working closely with the Commonwealth government as a matter of priority to implement the recommendations from the House of Representatives’ inquiry into foreign investment in residential real estate.”

Ms Lynch told Real Estate Business that the association has long-standing and productive relationships with both sides of politics.

“We will continue our conversations with the government and the opposition in 2015 to ensure that our members’ concerns are truly heard.”

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