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Put a brake on the breaks: tax distortions are a structural barrier to affordable housing

Put a brake on the breaks: tax distortions are a structural barrier to affordable housing

National Shelter media release — 4 October 2011

The property tax breaks featured in the most recent Australian Tax Office figures work against Australian households that need affordable housing.

National Shelter believes the $30 billion claimed by investors represents a structural problem which could be addressed at the tax forum in Canberra over the next two days.

Chairperson of National Shelter, Adrian Pisarski, who will be attending the forum, says despite the massive tax breaks the market fails to produce sufficient affordable rental.

‘If tax payers are to subsidise investment in residential property we should expect a public return in the form of affordable rental housing, not wealth creation.’ Whilst 47.5% of low?income households are in rental stress, it is offensive that tax rules allow such generous deductions against any income source for investors.

‘No comparable country is as generous, and this distortion combines with very high capital gains tax exemptions to encourage speculative investment of more expensive housing’, Mr Pisarski said.

Despite receiving $24 billion in rental income, investors claimed a massive $30 billion in losses, leaving a $6 billion tax windfall for investors.

National Shelter is concerned the forum will not consider how the states can move from stamp duties to land tax to create more certain revenue streams and ease housing mobility.

The Henry tax review made sensible recommendations about deductibility and the treatment capital gains and the forum should expect a timetable for those reforms to be established next week.

‘We need to put a brake on the breaks. $30 billion – how many houses can that build in Australia?’

Adrian Pisarski, Chairperson: tel: (07) 3831 5900, 0417 975 270; email: [email protected]

Joanna Carson, Communications Officer: 0418 718 584: email: [email protected]


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