Racing NSW fails to show it's a charity

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August 27, 2019 - 10:48 AM

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NSW's premier horse racing body has tried to avoid a six-figure tax bill by arguing it is a charitable organisation helping to educate and lift people from poverty.

Racing NSW, the state's regulating body for thoroughbred racing, has for almost two years argued it should not have to pay a $226,000 stamp duty bill on a 2600-acre (1052 ha) property near Capertee north west of Sydney.

The property, bought in June 2017 for $5.1 million, is designed to rehabilitate, retrain and rehome thoroughbreds after their racing careers.

Racing NSW's application for a full or partial exemption available to charitable or benevolent bodies was rejected by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Friday.

The racing authority had argued it was primarily charitable or benevolent and that it purchased the land on behalf of a racing trust.

But NCAT member John Currie noted the tax exemption couldn't apply given the intended use of the property and rejected the claims.

He said even on "a generous view" Racing NSW's objectives could only be regarded as being of "a mixed character".

"Racing NSW's resources are not, in accordance with its rules or objects, used wholly or predominantly for the relief of poverty in Australia or for the promotion of education in Australia," he said on Friday.

The racing organisation went to the tribunal after the state tax office rejected the same application in December 2017.

Currie pointed to so-called highlights listed by Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys in the organisation's 2018 annual report.

They concerned returns to owners, prizemoney increases, the inaugural running of the $10 million race The Everest, the development of other events and the implementation of a betting tax expected to generate $29 million extra revenue for the industry.

"There is some account of the Equine Welfare Program and of capital development, but read together they comprise only approximately one and a half of the eight columns in the report," Currie said.