A decision to waive land tax for about 3000 Tasmanian properties was made because of the timing of the tax notices not on a needs basis, a Parliamentary committee has heard.
Under the COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020, land tax in 2019-20 for land tax liabilities under $150 was waived.
Those in this cohort who had already paid their tax requirement are able to seek a refund.
During a hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation on Friday, Department of Treasury and Finance secretary Tony Ferrall was questioned by Murchison independent MLC Ruth Forrest over the rationale behind giving financial relief to that specific cohort of landowners.
Mr Ferrall said land tax notices were issued progressively and when the COVID-19 emergency started this cohort had not been issued their notice.
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He said this cohort included land valued above the current tax free threshold of $25,000 but which was worth less than $43,190, often properties in regional or rural areas.
"The thought process was this was a small cohort and it's quite inconsistent to be pushing out these demands at this point in time," Mr Ferrall said.
"From a revenue perspective it's about $300,000. With the refunds that would push that to about $350,000.
"It's a relatively small revenue loss."
Nelson independent MLC Meg Webb asked if it was correct to say there was nothing known about if the land owners receiving the tax waiver were at risk of vulnerable due to COVID-19, and if a more targeted approach had been considered by the Department.
Mr Ferrall said that would be a fair comment.
"It was quite literally a timing issue in one sense in that they hadn't been issued," he said
"It was quite, almost, incongruous to be sending out these relatively low dollar value demands for land tax.
"The broader considerations were something perhaps the Treasurer had in mind but I can't comment on that."