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Lawyers Discuss Stamp Duty

Lawyers Discuss Stamp Duty
Subhash Parshotam during Fiji Law Society Convention in Lami yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar
September 27
10:20 2015

Commenting on the new Land Sales Legislation and Capital Gains Tax, lawyer Subhas Parshotam is of the view that the rate of stamp duty needs to be reviewed.

Mr Parshotam was among 150 lawyers from around the country participating at the Fiji Law Society Convention yesterday at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay yesterday.

He said the general law was any one buying property pays a stamp duty on three per-cent of its purchase price and if they borrow money, it’s 1.75 per-cent of the mortgage amount.

“For non residents after the amendment laws states the rates of stamp duty are 10 per cent for purchase and five per cent for mortgage,” Mr Parshotam said.

“If a person is arguably purchasing property in a tourism development area like Naisoso or Denarau, a strata title or house or a villa, it could potentially face having to pay 15 per-cents, 10 per cent for transfer, five per cent for mortgage if he is borrowing on the cost of the property.”

“The sum is horrendous in a sense if a property is purchased for a million dollars, $100,000 is stamp duty, when a resident would pay on a property $30,000 stamp duties.”

In his view the stamp duty fetches revenue for Government with only serious buyers who may buy properties which may dissuade foreign investors.

He feels that the stamp duty rate needs to be reviewed.

“In fact many jurisdictions outside Fiji have totally abolished stamp duty altogether because of the administration office, the delays it causes to the transaction flowing, New Zealand for example have no stamp duty, many states in Australia have no stamp duty.

“In Fiji I appreciate it earns about 68-70million dollar revenue for the Government, but in the scheme of things, it is not much so maybe better off simplifying the stamp duty process or abolishing it altogether.”

Meanwhile, Justice Kamal Kumar presented a paper on the New Land Sales Legislation and Capital Gains Tax followed by Professor Julian Moti who presented a paper on ‘Honoured in the breach: Fiji’s Constitutional Redress Regime.”

He urged the Fiji Law Society to clamor for more time and space to be given for public involvement in both development and review of laws before they are made.

The convention closed with various discussions on numerous topics including papers on amendments to the Family Law Act- property distributions, Computer documentary evidence and others.

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 

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