Will Labor’s ‘luxury’ car tax hit farmers?

(Australian Associated Press)


The Statement

“This tax will fall on a top-selling vehicle such as the Toyota LandCruiser, a car which motorists in regional and rural areas would describe as a necessity rather than a luxury.”

Australian Automotive Dealer Association CEO David Blackhall. Feb 27, 2019

The Analysis

NSW Labor says it’s targeting the wealthy with an increase in stamp duty paid on cars worth more than $100,000, but the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) says rural buyers of heavy-duty work cars will also be hit. [1]

Labor leader Michael Daley described his initiative as a luxury tax [2], but AAP CrossCheck has looked into AADA CEO David Blackhall’s assertion it will apply to rural and regional Australians who spend that much on work vehicles like the Toyota LandCruiser [1].

In 2018, the Toyota LandCruiser was the top seller for the Upper Large SUV segment in Australia with 13,677 sales, according to Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries figures. [3]

Neither the chamber, nor Toyota was able to provide specific figures on sales for rural and regional NSW when contacted by AAP CrossCheck.

However, in 2012, Toyota said: “Over the 60 years in Australia Landcruiser has become an integral part of rural community life. Landcruiser has helped rural communities take on life in the demanding outback with confidence.” [4]

NSW Farmers president James Jackson told AAP CrossCheck his members bought brands like LandCruiser “for safety and practical reasons, not for reasons of luxury.”

This was backed by motoring group NRMA, with a spokesperson telling AAP CrossCheck: “LandCruisers are workhorses – they’re fundamental to people on farms and in regional areas.”

Toyota markets the LandCruiser as being built for tough conditions.

“Whether you’re travelling cross-country, crawling through rivers or battling in the bush, there’s absolutely no doubt that LandCruiser 200 is engineered to handle the rough stuff,” it states. [5]

The manufacturer’s retail prices for the LandCruiser range from the base model GXL at $67,740 to the LC200 Sahara 4.5 litre diesel at $119,930. [6], [7].

These prices don’t include additional safety features like blind spot monitors or bull bars which could push the total above the proposed new tax threshold.

Mr Daley plans to raise the stamp duty on cars priced above $100,000 from five to seven per cent [8], [2]. The increase would be on top of the federal government’s luxury car tax of 33 per cent for every dollar above $66,331, and 10 per cent GST [9].

It would also put NSW ahead of Queensland and Western Australia to have the nation’s highest stamp duty on cars. [10]

In relation to the tax, the definition of “luxury” is based on cost alone, with no reference to the features of the vehicle, nor its end use.

AAP CrossCheck concludes some LandCruisers do cost in excess of $100,000 and would therefore attract the additional “luxury” tax.

However, there was only anecdotal evidence to support the claim LandCruisers are widely used in rural and regional areas for work purposes.

The Verdict

Mostly True – Mostly accurate, but there is a minor error or problem.

The References

1. Car tax plan ‘will be dire’ for auto industry, farmers. By Edward Boyd. The Daily Telegraph. Feb 27, 2019. https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/opposition-leader-michael-daley-approved-at-least-six-other-residential-apartment-blocks/news-story/e91cd8733d09e62274c3a1ad7a36b973?login=1

2. A Daley government to deliver nurse-to-patient ratios – more than 5,500 nurses. NSW Labor media statement. Feb 25, 2019. https://www.michaeldaley.com.au/a_daley_government_to_deliver_nurse_to_patient_ratios

3. ‘Sales down in challenging 2018 environment’, FCAI, January 4, 2019. https://www.fcai.com.au/news/index/index/year/all/month/all/article/552

4. Toyota celebrates its ties with rural Australia with ‘This is Landcruiser country’ campaign. By Robin Hicks. Mumbrella. August 17, 2012. https://mumbrella.com.au/toyota-celebrates-its-ties-with-rural-australia-with-this-is-landcruiser-country-campaign-110220

5. Promotional statement on performance of LandCruiser 200. Toyota website. 2019. https://www.toyota.com.au/main/landcruiser-200

6. Toyota LandCruiser Pricing and Specs. Toyota website. 2019. https://www.toyota.com.au/main/landcruiser-200/prices

7: Toyota LandCruiser Pricing and Specs. Carsguide. 2019. https://www.carsguide.com.au/toyota/landcruiser/price/2019

8: Motor Vehicle Duty. Revenue NSW. https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/taxes-duties-levies-royalties/motor-vehicle-duty

9: Luxury car tax rate and thresholds. Australian Taxation Office, February 6, 2019. https://www.ato.gov.au/rates/luxury-car-tax-rate-and-thresholds/

10. Stamp Duty comparison. Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. https://www.business.gov.au/finance/taxation/stamp-duty


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