Australia: Ready, set, object! It’s land tax time again

NSW planning, environment & government update
Last Updated: 8 February 2010

By Anthony Whealy and Ilona Renner of Gadens Lawyers, Sydney

Your new land tax bill will be arriving soon and you will need to act fast if you want to object.

NSW land tax assessment notices are rolling off the OSR printing press between mid-January and mid-April 2010. With only 60 days to object from the date you receive your land tax assessment notice, landowners, now is the time to give some consideration to the land tax objection and appeal process, to ensure that you're not paying more land tax than you should be.

The assessment notices are beginning to be delivered by the OSR now. It is important to make sure there are proper administration procedures in place to ensure that the notice promptly reaches the appropriate person in your office. Once received, read the notice closely and diarise the objection deadline.

Should I lodge an objection?

You may want to object to the Valuer-General's valuation of your property, as a reduced valuation will lower your land tax liability.

In order to object, you must provide evidence in support of the reasons for your objection based on features specific to your property, and to comparable sales evidence occurring around 1 July 2009. Both the valuation objection form and information on what constitutes good comparable sales evidence is available through the Department of Lands website here. It may be worth engaging a valuation expert to assist in gathering cogent comparable sales evidence.

Deciding whether to object to your land tax assessment doesn't have to be a headache. Some of the key considerations that are important to keep in mind are:

  • the "average land value" on your 2010 land tax assessment notice is the average of a three year period, namely the land value for the 2010 year (as assessed on 1 July 2009) and the land values for the previous two years (as assessed on 1 July 2007 and 1 July 2008). An objection may only be lodged against any of the 2008, 2009 and/or 2010 land values, but not against the "average" value;
  • the land tax threshold for 2010 is $376,000. Your land tax rate is calculated on the combined value of all the taxable land you own above this threshold, calculated as $100 plus 1.6% of the land value between the threshold and the premium rate threshold ($2,299,000) and 2% thereafter;
  • in the context of a generally recognised decline in property values between mid-2008 and mid-2009, if your 2010 land value (as assessed on 1 July 2009) is the same as or higher than the value assessed at the previous two years, this could be unreasonable, and it might be worth obtaining a preliminary valuation report on the "correct" value of the land as at 1 July 2009. This can also be used to support an objection to the land value as assessed at the two previous years (as assessed on 1 July 2008 and 1 July 2009) if you suspect that the valuations are too high;
  • a preliminary valuation report can be used as the basis of an objection to the land value on the grounds that the land value is, for example, "too high" (this is the most common reason stated on objection forms). Deadlines apply, with only 60 days from the date of the land tax assessment notice to lodge an objection with the Valuer-General. If you are out of time, the Valuer-General may be persuaded to exercise his discretion to accept a late objection if you can provide compelling reasons for your delay.

What happens next? Determination of objections and appeals

Once your objection is lodged, it will be reviewed by an independent valuer appointed by the Valuer General, and you will be issued with a notice of determination of the objection which allows, partially allows, or disallows the objection. If a notice of determination has not been given within 90 days of lodgement of the objection, the objection is deemed to have been disallowed.

If your objection is disallowed (or deemed to have been disallowed), you only have 60 days from the date of the issue of the notice of determination of objection to lodge an appeal with the Land and Environment Court of NSW.

In considering whether to initiate an appeal, you should undertake a cost/benefit analysis to determine whether the cost of conducting an appeal is justified in light of the possible land tax reduction available. In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that a consequence of the three year "averaging method" is that a challenge to the current years' inflated land valuation continues to provide reductions in both current and future land tax liability, at least for three years.

As mentioned above, you have an opportunity to revisit objections to the land values for the previous two years that are used in calculating the current years' land value courtesy of the averaging method. This is a useful and convenient way of getting around any missed deadlines and disallowed objections concerning the valuations of your land in the previous two years. Keep in mind that if you are lodging a second objection to the land values for the previous two years, you must provide new information, addressing valid objection criteria, to support your concerns that the land value is incorrect. Perhaps the most important benefit of objecting to all three years' land value, however, is that successful objections to all three years' land value will also result in a substantially higher land tax saving than an objection to a single year, without necessarily involving substantially more expense and effort on your behalf.

If you are considering an objection or appeal in relation to your 2010 land value (or the 2009 and 2008 land values), seek advice. Gadens has significant national experience in land valuation matters. In NSW, for example, we advise on all aspects of land valuation, including assisting clients in determining whether to lodge objections against the assessed land values, preparing and lodging the objections, liaising with the Valuer General of NSW, and where such objections are refused, representing our clients in appeal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court of NSW or the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Where possible, we try to resolve valuation disputes through early mediation to avoid the cost and uncertainty of court or tribunal proceedings.

Please contact us if you would like further advice on how you can reduce your land tax liability.


Anthony Whealy

t (02) 9931 4867


Robert White

t (02) 9931 4939


To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.