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Canberra's tax chief names and shames 56 properties owned by tax-dodging landlords

The ACT Revenue Commissioner is targeting tax-dodging investors.

The ACT Revenue Commissioner is targeting tax-dodging investors. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

The ACT's tax chief says his controversial decision to "name and shame" the properties of tax-dodging landlords is working.

Revenue Commissioner Kim Salisbury identified another 22 addresses last week owned by investors who had repeatedly failed to pay rates and land tax.

He has now named 56 sites across Canberra - 42 houses, five units and nine business addresses - since his blitz began in February. The tenants are not responsible for the debts.

ACT law allows the commissioner to publicly identify properties whose owners have fallen more than a year behind in land tax payments.

But the power was used very sparingly - only twice since self-government - until Mr Salisbury decided to use it this year to spur recalcitrant tax-dodgers into clearing their debts.

If the owners still haven't paid up a year after the declarations, the Revenue Office can apply to take over and sell the properties.

Mr Salisbury said his two earlier declarations - in February and March - "have resulted in debts being cleared on a number of properties".

His office's warning to landlords that their properties were about to be named also prompted some investors to pay up.

He said the latest sites belonged to landlords "who have not responded to ongoing efforts by the Revenue Office to recover arrears".

The average outstanding debt on each property was more than $10,000, he said.

ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr supports Mr Salisbury's campaign.

But the Liberals' economic spokesman, Brendan Smyth, said he wanted to know want prompted it.

"The question for the Treasurer is what is the total level of outstanding rates and land tax in the ACT? How many more properties are going to be named in this way?"

Mr Smyth said the name-and-shame campaign raised questions about how effective the government was at collecting tax.

The Revenue Commissioner has said previously his office is not targeting people in financial hardship, and is using the threat of a forced sale sparingly.

"The primary intention of this action is not to sell the properties but to recover the arrears where other debt-recovery actions have proven unsuccessful."


  • Any idea when any of the houses are going to be foreclosed or sold off by the goverment. I now have a long list of property's that I could get at real cheap price. Maybe the real estate agents are already circling. What year are we in 1984?

    Robin Hood
    Sherwood Forest
    Date and time
    April 30, 2014, 1:34AM
    • No names have been disclosed so this isn't "naming" and shaming. Listing an address does not identity the landlord, and the fact that they have to explicitly state that the tenant is not responsible for the debt shows that there has been no public identification of the actual debtor.

      Date and time
      April 30, 2014, 6:14AM
      • I would have thought quietly progressing along the path to foreclosure would do the trick better than naming and shaming the property address.

        nil all
        Date and time
        April 30, 2014, 7:06AM
        • I'm confused why naming and shaming is a stronger incentive to pay than a letter saying "We're going to sell you up now". Naming and shaming is childish and stupid and potentially dangerous. Send out the requisite number of warnings, then put the property on the market.

          Date and time
          April 30, 2014, 9:32AM
          • As someone pointed out, this is not naming and shaming as it does not name the person who owns the property, or the Directors if it is a company.

            Perhaps they should do that, as some Scandanavian jurisdictions do, where they name publicly the people who do not pay their proper tax obligations. Voluntary compliance is high, because it is considered shameful for individuals, or loss of reputation for companies, not to willingly pay their dues.

            Worth a try?

            Date and time
            April 30, 2014, 10:41AM
            • Naming and shaming, "rubbish".any wonder thes knobs keep getting away with it.

              NITRO GANGSTER
              Date and time
              April 30, 2014, 11:45AM
              • The Landlord, a shelf company with a convoluted ownership actually owned by the tenant under a family trust arrangement, is doing what the system is structured to do. Provide an opportunity to those rich or skilled enough to rip it off and minimise the exposure.

                The directors of the companies who own the properties should be named.

                Oh, yeah. And a change in the laws to prevent this activity would probably stop the cost of having to chase it.

                Cynical Public on the sauce
                Date and time
                May 01, 2014, 2:54PM
                Comments are now closed

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