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Changes for properties $2million or over from 1 July 2016

Posted on: April 22 2016

With property prices still increasing across most Melbourne suburbs and the steady number of foreign purchasers entering the property market, new legislation has been passed that will impact a number of future property transactions. Here is a succinct summary of the changes from Cheltenham accounting firm, Vawdrey Axton Turner:

“Buyers to withhold tax for ATO when buying certain properties

Parliament recently passed legislation amending the taxation law to impose withholding obligations on the purchasers of certain Australian assets – generally property purchased from a non-resident. However, the changes will affect most purchases of property in Australia!
The amendments impose a 10% withholding obligation on purchasers of ‘Taxable Australian Real Property’ (generally, this means an interest in Australian land) from certain foreign residents, as well as certain ‘indirect Australian real property interests’ (such as shares in companies that own a lot of land) and options to acquire such assets.

The amendments will generally apply where the contract to purchase an applicable asset is signed on or after 1 July 2016.

Tax Warning!

Where the land, or the interest in the land, is worth $2 million or more, the new law requires the purchaser to withhold 10% of the purchase price and send it to the ATO unless the vendor has obtained a ‘clearance certificate’ from the ATO and provided it to the purchaser prior to settlement.

This obligation arises regardless of whether the vendor is a foreign resident or not.


On 1 August 2016, Harvey enters into a contract to purchase a residential property in an affluent Sydney suburb for $2.5 million, with settlement proposed to occur on 1 October 2016.  He does not know whether the vendor is a foreign resident.

Despite many requests from Harvey’s lawyer, the vendor refuses to obtain a clearance certificate from the ATO to give to Harvey.

As Harvey is acquiring Australian land with a market value greater than $2 million and he has not received a clearance certificate from the vendor by the time settlement occurs, Harvey will be required to withhold and pay to the ATO $250,000, whether or not the vendor is an Australian resident.”

Contact Matt Duker
Director & Licensed Conveyancer (Licence No 000935L)

Happy client.

Thank you so much for such a quick response - you're an absolute legend! I will have a good read of this and proceed as suggested. Again, thanks heaps for your input and quick response! Have a great weekend, Jesse G - Contract review Reservoir Home March 2017 (Contract review service)