A Comprehensive Guide to the Victorian State Budget 2023-24: What You Need to Know

The Victorian State Budget for 2023-24 has been announced, bringing significant legislative changes administered by the Victorian State Government Office. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the key announcements from the budget and provide insights into how these changes may affect clients. Stay informed to navigate these modifications effectively.

Abolishment of Commercial and Industrial Property Stamp Duty: The State Budget proposes the abolition of land transfer duty (stamp duty) on commercial and industrial properties, replacing it with an annual property tax. Clients should note that this change will occur gradually, with properties transitioning to the new system upon sale. The annual property tax, which becomes payable 10 years after the transaction, will be 1 percent of the property’s unimproved land value. This change could have significant implications for businesses involved in commercial and industrial property transactions. Clients should carefully consider the timing and financial implications of the new annual property tax when planning such transactions.

COVID-19 Debt: Temporary Payroll Tax Surcharge: Businesses with national payrolls exceeding $10 million per year will be subject to a temporary payroll tax surcharge, aimed at addressing COVID-19 debt. The surcharge rate will vary based on the size of the payroll, with businesses above $10 million paying an additional 0.5%, and those exceeding $100 million paying an extra 1%. Clients operating large businesses need to account for the temporary payroll tax surcharge in their financial planning. It is essential to evaluate the impact on cash flow and budgeting to ensure compliance with the new tax requirements.

COVID-19 Debt: Temporary Land Tax Surcharge: The State Budget introduces a temporary land tax surcharge, effective from the 2024 financial tax year, to address COVID-19 debt. However, exemptions apply to certain properties, including primary residences. General land tax rates will see surcharges based on different taxable landholding brackets, while trust landholdings will be subject to similar surcharge rates. Property owners, including investors and developers, should carefully assess the impact of the temporary land tax surcharge on their portfolios. Understanding the new rates and surcharges is crucial for accurate financial planning and budgeting.

Changes to Absentee Owner Surcharge and Land Tax Exemptions: The absentee owner surcharge will see an increase in the rate from 2% to 4% starting from the 2024 land tax year. The minimum threshold for non-trust absentee owners will decrease to $50,000. The State Budget also introduces additional land tax exemptions for principal places of residence under construction or renovation, land protected by a conservation covenant with Trust for Nature, and land owned by an immediate family member used as the home of an individual eligible for a special disability trust. Absentee property owners should be prepared for higher surcharge rates, which may impact their overall tax liability. Individuals undertaking construction or renovation projects on their principal residences can benefit from extended exemptions. Clients eligible for the newly introduced land tax exemptions should explore the potential financial advantages associated with their unique circumstances.

Increase in Deduction Thresholds and Exemptions: The State Budget proposes an increase in the deduction threshold for the land transfer duty special disability trust concession from $500,000 to $1.5 million for principal place of residence transfers. Additionally, a new land transfer duty concession will be applicable for the transfer of a home valued up to $1.5 million by an immediate family member to an individual eligible for a special disability trust. The land transfer duty pensioner exemption and concession thresholds will align with those for first home buyers. Clients involved in property transfers, especially those related to special disability trusts or pensioner concessions, should explore the updated deduction thresholds and exemptions. Understanding these changes can help clients plan property transactions more effectively, potentially resulting in significant cost savings.

Payroll Tax Changes: The State Budget includes an increase in the payroll tax-free threshold from $700,000 to $900,000, effective from 1 July 2024. However, for businesses with wages exceeding $3 million, the deduction associated with the tax-free threshold will phase out, with no benefit for those with wages above $5 million. Businesses with payrolls near or above the threshold should evaluate the impact of the changed payroll tax-free threshold. Planning for potential reduced benefits and adjusting financial strategies accordingly will be crucial to optimize tax obligations.

In Conclusion, the Victorian State Budget for 2023-24 presents a range of taxation and revenue changes that will undoubtedly impact businesses and individuals. As an accounting and financial planning practice, we understand the complexities and implications of these modifications. We encourage our clients to reach out to us for personalized guidance and expert advice to navigate the intricacies of the State Budget.

Our team of experienced professionals is equipped with the knowledge and expertise to assist you in understanding the implications of the budget on your financial situation. Whether you are a business owner, property investor, or individual seeking to optimize your tax planning strategies, our services are tailored to meet your specific needs.

By consulting with our practice, you can stay informed about the changes outlined in the State Budget and develop proactive strategies to minimize tax liabilities, maximize exemptions, and effectively manage your finances. We are dedicated to assisting our clients in making informed decisions that align with their long-term financial goals.