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The taxpayer was the owner of land in Armstrong Creek, acquired in September 2015.

The Commissioner issued land tax assessments to the taxpayer for the 2016 and 2017 land tax years.

On 16 June 2022, the Tribunal (see decision in Mintfield Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue (Review and Regulation) [2022] VCAT 671) found the land was entitled to the exemption under s68 of the Land Tax Act 2005 (LTA) in respect of the 2016 land tax year, but not the 2017 land tax year. The taxpayer was dissatisfied with this outcome and sought leave to appeal the Tribunal decision to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court decision

On 9 July 2023, Justice Croft refused the taxpayer leave to appeal the matter. In his reasons, His Honour found that the taxpayer had not established any proper basis upon which leave to appeal should be granted. Further, even if leave to appeal was granted, the appeal would have been “bound to fail” and “did not have any real prospects of success”.

This decision reaffirmed that appeals under s148 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 are:
(a) limited to questions of law
(b) it is not open to the Court to entertain further debate as to the merits of the Tribunal’s decision on the facts.

The Court also decided that s68 of the LTA requires a taxpayer to prepare the land for a targeted type of primary production set out in s64 of the Act. It does not permit a taxpayer to ‘generally’ prepare the land for ‘any type’ of primary production.

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