Government Must Clean Up Illegal Stamp Duty Debacle

The ACT Labor government must take every possible step to make sure homeowners are fully compensated after accepting that some of its stamp duty claims were illegal. The government must also rule out introducing retrospective legislation to avoid paying the stamp duty back to affected homeowners, Shadow Treasurer Brendan Smyth said today.

“Finally the government has eaten humble pie and won’t proceed with this expensive legal case in the High Court. 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,” Mr Smyth said.

“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.

“Andrew Barr must also put affected peoples’ minds at ease by guaranteeing that retrospective legislation won’t be introduced to cover the government from paying the stamp duty back to customers.

“Furthermore, the government must detail whether interest will be paid on the funds illegally collected and also put in place procedures to make sure these circumstances don’t arise again.

“The government has the records of the Canberrans who could be entitled to a refund on stamp duty after surrendering this court case. It needs to be proactive and give the money back it has wrongly charged,” Mr Smyth concluded.