Occasionally, you may come across situation where you will enter into a transaction with a party that is related to you (personally and/or professionally).
We strongly advise you inform your legal advisor, prior to entering into any transaction, if you have a business or personal relationship with the other party or if the consideration for the sale and purchase is less than the market value at the time.
If so, this will have duty implications and the Office of State Revenue will require, for duty assessment purposes, a valuation of the property (or business as the case may be) using at least three comparable sales within the last three months. If applicable, these valuations must meet certain criteria and are required before duty being assessed and paid.
You should contact your legal advisor as soon as possible to discuss if you think the abovementioned may apply because failure to obtain the valuations can result in serious consequences for you, for example, the imposition of penalty duty and interest.
From 1 July 2017, the withholding tax rules that were introduced last July for properties $2 million and above, will now apply to all property transactions where the market value of the property is $750,000 and above.
Although the new laws are aimed at foreign residents, real estate agents must be aware that these new laws impact all property sales at $750,000 and above.
The new laws require a purchaser to withhold 12.5% of the purchase price of real property valued at $750,000 and above and to pay that amount to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on settlement unless the seller obtains a clearance certificate. Actually, the new laws will start on 1 July 2017 and are aimed at vendors that are ‘foreign persons’. However, these laws will impact all property transactions valued $750,000 and over, irrespective of whether the vendor is a foreign person or not.
For any sale contract entered into on or after 1 July 2017 where the purchase price is $750,000 or greater, the purchaser has a statutory obligation to withhold 12.5% of the purchase price at settlement from the vendor and pay that amount to the ATO unless the vendor can provide a clearance certificate.
Following settlement, the vendor applies for a tax credit in relation to the amount withheld by the ATO for the capital gains liability arising from the transaction.
This means that Australian resident vendors who are selling property with a market value of $750,000 or above will need to apply for a clearance certificate from the ATO to ensure that their sale proceeds are not withheld.
Strengthening the test for Australian citizenship
The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 (the Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 15 June 2017.
This is the next step in the process to implement the commitment made by the Australian Government on 20 April 2017, for citizenship applicants to pledge their allegiance to Australia and undertake to uphold Australian values and demonstrate their contribution to the Australian community.
This Bill implements the commitment made by the Australian Government to strengthen the requirements for Australian citizenship and the integrity and effectiveness of the citizenship programme, providing a clear legislative framework to underpin the Government's policy.
Underpinning a diverse and harmonious Australia is the security of our nation. The Government places the highest priority on the safety and security of all Australians. Recent terrorist attacks around the world have justifiably caused concern in the Australian community.
The measures set out in this Bill are integral to Australia’s our future as a strong and successful multicultural nation, united by our allegiance to Australia and committed to freedom and prosperity.
The 2015 National Consultation on Citizenship – Your Right, Your Responsibility indicated strong community support for strengthening the test for Australian citizenship. The Australian Government is strengthening the test for Australian citizenship in response to this consultation.
The proposed changes are outlined in Strengthening the test for Australian Citizenship
Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection