THE Canberra Liberals say the ACT Government should pay back all homeowners who paid stamp duty the Government was not entitled to charge them.
Last March the Supreme Court ruled that the Government was not enitlted to charge Roozbeh Araghi and his partner Luke Dorsett stamp duty on the house they bought in Crace in 2010, only on the land, which cut the bill from $16,800 to $20 with the application of first home buyer concessions.
Shadow Treasurer Brendan Smyth says the Government should be proactive and make sure all homeowners in similar situations are paid back in full rather than wait for them to make their own legal challenges.
Mr Smyth also wants the Government to rule out introducing any new legislation that would allow it to get out of paying back other homeowners who paid stamp duty in similar circumstances.
The ACT Government had taken the case to the Supreme Court to appeal the ruling, which was originally made by the Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal, but the Tribunal’s decision was upheld. A second appeal also failed to overturn the ruling, which the Government has now accepted.
“Finally the government has eaten humble pie and won’t proceed with this expensive legal case in the High Court,” Mr Smyth said.
“The ACT Labor government must now do the right thing and make every possible attempt to contact the possibly hundreds of homeowners entitled to have their stamp duty refunded, and then promptly deliver those refunds.
“If a group of Canberrans had been found to be defrauding the government on stamp duty I’m sure there would be no hesitation by ACT Labor in setting up a taskforce or doing whatever it had to do to catch them. Now the government must set the same standards for itself.”
Mr Smyth also demanded to know whether the Government would pay interest on the “illegally collected” funds, and if it would change procedures to make sure these circumstances don’t arise again.