Australian Government CrestInternational Comparison of Taxes

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9. Property and transaction taxation

Summary

Although Australia has a comparatively high reliance on property and transaction taxes (3.0 per cent of GDP) and is seventh highest of the OECD-30, in terms of the OECD-10, Australia’s overall tax burden is much closer to the unweighted average (2.7 per cent).

Most property and transaction taxes in Australia are levied by sub-national governments — the State, Territory and local governments.

Australia’s tax burden from taxes on immovable property is below the unweighted average of the OECD-10.

Of the OECD-10, Australia has the highest financial and capital transaction tax burden (includes taxes such as stamp duties on conveyances).

Australia’s top rate for stamp duty on conveyances (7 per cent) is the equal second highest of the OECD-10.

Australia is the only OECD-10 country which does not levy either a recurrent wealth tax, or any estate, inheritance or gift taxes.

9.1 Introduction

Property and transaction taxes cover taxes levied on the use, ownership or transfer of property, including:

  • taxes on immovable property, for example, land tax and municipal rates;
  • taxes on net wealth;
  • taxes on the change of ownership of property through inheritance or gift; and
  • taxes on financial and capital transactions, for example, stamp duties on conveyances and cheques.

This chapter compares Australia’s property and transaction tax burden with the other OECD-10 countries over these four sub-categories. Information on the comparison across the OECD-30 is included in Chapter 3.

As for other areas where the OECD data are disaggregated finely, there are classification issues which mean that particular care needs to be taken in making comparisons across countries (and through time).

A wide variety of taxes fall into the property and transaction taxes category and there is considerable diversity between countries in the implementation and design of these taxes.

In Australia, virtually all taxes covered by this category are levied by the sub-national governments. In the other OECD-10 countries, the levels of government imposing these taxes differ. For the majority, sub-national governments are more reliant on these taxes than national governments as a source of revenue.

 

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