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Airline stamp duty row erupts
Sunrise Exchange News, 20 February 2007

The Victorian Opposition says the State Government has introduced a “stealth” tax on foreign airlines by demanding stamp duty for the portion of overseas-arranged insurance that applies to assets and operations in Victoria

Opposition state development spokesman David Davis says the State Revenue Office has sent accounts to several airlines requesting payments that will total in the millions of dollars.

He says Victoria is leading the charge, and other states are following suit. The costs will most likely be passed on to passenger and freight customers, and they will become a drag on the state and national economies.

However, a spokesman for Treasurer John Brumby says the stamp duty has always applied to international insurance arrangements.

Tim Mitchell told Sunrise Exchange News the states had agreed to work together to better police those laws and ensure the appropriate amounts are paid. The accounts represent an estimate of the money owed, and airlines are welcome to substantiate any lower claim.

He would not comment on the level of stamp duty evasion beforehand or the amounts previously collected from foreign airlines.