Lilydale farmer Leigh Arnold is continuing to fight against a land tax payment which he feels has been wrongly applied to him.
First reported by The Examiner in 2019, Mr Arnold remains in dispute with the Department of Treasury and Finance after his land was reclassified from primary production to general use, resulting in the bill.
Mr Arnold explained that he donated a piece of land from his Lilydale farm to the local RSL to help complete upgrades to their war memorial.
"They were after a bit more ground to improve the cenotaph, so I gave them a little bit of ground to improve the cenotaph," he said.
"The boundary adjustment went through the titles office and they flicked it back to [general use] and then I got a land tax bill."
Under the land tax agreement, land that is primarily used for the purpose of primary production is exempt from land tax.
In the two intervening years, Mr Arnold has met with the Premier Peter Gutwein as he sort to find a conclusion to the longstanding issue and the bill remains unpaid.
Mr Arnold describes the donated land as "enough to park five or six cars on" but what was meant to be a gesture of good will has become a financial headache.
"I haven't paid it and they're threatening legal action but I still haven't paid it," he said.
"It just makes me regret giving a little bit of land to the RSL."
The Lilydale land is being used as a hazelnut tree plantation by Mr Arnold and his wife which has 5,500 trees on it with another 5,500 trees expected to be planted this year. There is also some cattle on
In a statement, the Department of Treasury and Finance said that the situation could be remedied via an exemption which Mr Arnold could obtain.
"In general terms a primary production land tax exemption is available to any land owner who is substantially using the land for the business of primary production and the primary production is undertaken in a business-like manner with a reasonable expectation of profit," the statement read.
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However, Mr Arnold said that he has already filed paperwork to prove that the land in question is for primary production and nothing has changed.
"[They] said get your accountant to send a letter and it will be right, which [we] did and then they wanted [more paperwork] and it just goes on and on," he said.
"The money isn't the issue but it is the point of the whole thing."
The department confirmed that the onus to obtain the exemption fell onto the land owner to ensure the process was fair an equitable.
"The Land Tax Act places the onus of proof on the land owner to have land classified as primary production land, consequently, and to ensure that all taxpayers are treated fairly and equitably, the Commissioner can only apply land tax exemptions where the land owner has provided the requested evidence."
Mr Arnold expressed that he was disappointed the land tax bill remained despite his efforts to get the situation fixed.
"I don't see the land as any big deal, I don't want acknowledgement for that, the acres is no big deal but when you do that and you get the public service [on your case] that's all wrong," he said.
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