Foreign purchasers


In 2015, the issue of foreign ownership of land in Australia has become more focused. The Commonwealth Government has an interest via the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), which decides whether a foreign purchaser is eligible to acquire land in Australia. The power extends to ordering a transfer be reversed if the prior consent of the federal Treasurer has not been obtained.

The state of Victoria has in interest via the Duties Act 2000 (Vic). If a purchaser of property in Victoria is not one of the following:

an Australian citizen;

the holder of a permanent visa;

a New Zealand citizen holding a special category visa (sub-class 444),

then the State Revenue Office (SRO) will assess the duty payable on the transfer and add 3 per cent. This rate applies to contracts entered into after 1 July 2015 but before 1 July 2016. Contracts entered into after 1 July 2016 incur an additional duty of 7 per cent.

This applies to transactions entered into or after 1 July 2015 where the transferee is a foreign person at the time of the transaction (usually at settlement). Each purchaser must complete a “SRO form 62” for production at settlement. The transferee can be a natural person, a corporation, or a corporation acting as a trustee.