In Cooney v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 375, Mr Cooney and Ms Grant owned and lived together in a residence (No. 25) and purchased an adjoining block (No. 27). There was a residential building on No. 27, however they had not lived in it for many years. The owners claimed that the two blocks should be regarded as a single parcel of land as their place of residence and thus exempt from land tax assessment under Schedule 1A of the Land Tax Management Act 1956.

The Court applied the ‘four unities’ test which states that continuous blocks of land comprise a single parcel if they are undivided by physical separation, use, occupation and title. The lots were physically undivided and there was unity of title and occupation of the blocks. Both blocks were used as part of their surrounding environs of their home and for storage. The clause 13 restriction that tax exemptions are not permitted for dwellings capable of separate occupation did not apply since the dwelling on No. 27 was dilapidated and not capable of occupation. The Court ordered that the land tax assessments for 2015 – 2016 be revoked.

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