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NSW halves stamp duty on premiums

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The NSW Government’s decision to halve stamp duty on insurance policies to 5% certainly wasn’t expected by the industry, but who’s complaining?

Not the Insurance Council, whose Executive Director Alan Mason hailed it as a move that will ease the tax burden and encourage other states to do the same.

And NIBA is quietly satisfied, with CEO Noel Pettersen saying the action, which is expected to cut about $160 from the average NSW commercial property risk premium of $2000, is “exactly the kind of lead that business and community groups have been waiting for”.

“Since early this year NIBA brokers have been working closely with their clients to explain the compounding effect of the fire services levy, GST and stamp duty – a tax on a tax on a tax – all on top of their insurance premiums.”

Mr Mason also noted ICA’s own representations on the issue of high premium taxes. “Greater affordability and therefore higher levels of insurance cover provide financial advantages to the Government because it reduces the number of people who are uninsured and who rely on welfare in times of disaster,” he said.

In contrast to the usual carefully controlled leaks preceding a budget announcement, Treasurer Michael Egan gave no prior indication that he was about to cut the tax. It will also assist the state in its attempts to remain competitive with other states.

Some media commentators today suggested it will lead to a series of stamp duty cuts across Australia. It will certainly force treasurers in other states to review their arguments for retaining the tax, which is now being widely criticised by business groups trying to find ways to cut back on soaring insurance premiums.

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