Foreign Buyer Crackdown

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The ATO in Sydney has taken significant measures to track down foreign buyers of Australian real estate. To enhance their efforts, they have recently hired 50 dedicated compliance officers. These professionals will meticulously examine the records of approximately 11 million individuals to identify any potential law violations by illegal property owners. This initiative underscores the ATO’s commitment to ensuring compliance and highlights the crucial role of accountants in Sydney in maintaining the integrity of the real estate market.

The ATO oversees foreign property investment and is accessing 32 years’ worth of data from Revenue and Land Titles Offices from all states from 1985 to 2017 relating to property sales, sub-divisions, land transfers and valuations.

Rental bond agencies in each state will also be required to provide details of leased properties during that period, including information about rental payments, length of lease, bond amount and landlord details.

The ATO has said that they will investigate data to assist in screening foreign residential real estate applications and compliance activity and expect to review an estimated 31 million records each year.

This data matching programme aims to ensure that taxpayers correctly meet their obligations regarding their dealings with real property, including registration, lodgement, reporting and payment.

The ATO’s objectives include:

  • Identify risks and trends of non-compliance
  • Gain an understanding of risks and issues
  • Understand compliance strategies to minimise future risk to revenue
  • Promote voluntary compliance
  • Strengthen community confidence in the tax system’s integrity by publicising the data-matching programme’s outcomes.

If you have any risks in this area or want to clarify anything, please get in touch with your client manager.

*Correct as of December 2015

Disclaimer – Kreston Stanley Williamson has produced this article to serve its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas in this article, you must seek advice about your circumstances. Liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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