The building permit levy audit program of the Victorian Building
Authority (VBA) has identified more than $334,000 in unpaid building permit
levies in 2013-2014.
Building permit levies fund the building control system in Victoria.
Anyone applying for a building permit for works costing more than $10,000 must
pay a levy before the permit is issued. Building surveyors are required to provide
the VBA each month with a report of the building permits issued, along with the
levy payments collected by them.
According to Compliance and Performance Director Murray Smith, these audits
are regularly conducted to ensure building surveyors comply with their
obligations to report and submit building permit levies. The audit identified
685 building permits issued in the 2013-2014 financial year that building
surveyors hadn’t reported to the VBA or had reported incorrectly. Levies
amounting to $334,746 were not passed on to the VBA, though in many cases,
consumers have paid the amount in full to their building surveyor.
Most of the problems discovered during the audits are the result of
issues with systems and processes, or genuine mistakes. However, the VBA has an
enforcement strategy in place to deal with intentional wrongdoings and recover
unpaid levies from the surveyors.
In May a building surveyor paid more than $72,000 in outstanding
building permit levies after the VBA took legal action to recover the money he
had collected from his clients for building permits. He was also fined $14,436 for