Land Tax Relief Has Arrived, but Are You Entitled to It?

Taxation and Revenue

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DATE PUBLISHED: April 17, 2020

As a result of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queensland Government has announced relief measures to compensate landowners in respect to their land tax liabilities.

These measures are available in three forms:

  • land tax rebate reducing land tax liabilities by 25% for eligible properties for the 2019-20 assessment year;
  • waiver of the 2% land tax foreign surcharge for foreign entities for the 2019-20 assessment year; and
  • a 3 month deferral of land tax liabilities for the 2020-21 assessment year.

While there will be no need for landowners to apply for the foreign surcharge waiver or deferral, landowners will need to apply for the 25% rebate from the Office of State Revenue.


WHO IS ELGIBLE FOR THE REBATE?

The rebate will be made available to eligible landowners in either of the following circumstances:

  • They lease all or part of a property to one or more tenants and all the following apply:
    • The ability of one or more tenants to pay their normal rent is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • They will provide rent relief to the affected tenant(s) of an amount at least commensurate with the land tax rebate; and
    • They will comply with the leasing principles set out in the Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies even if the relevant lease is not regulated.
  • They are a landowner and all the following apply:
    • All or part of the property is available for lease;
    • Their ability to secure tenants has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • They require relief to meet their financial obligations; and
    • They will comply with the leasing principles set out in the Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies even if the relevant lease is not regulated.

The Office of State Revenue has advised that only landowners who had a land tax liability for the 2019-2020 year will be entitled to apply for the 25% rebate. A (potentially unintended) consequence of this could be the exclusion some landowners who purchased property after 30 June 2019, even where they had paid an amount referable to land tax as a part of that purchase.


WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK YOU QUALIFY?

If you think you may meet the above eligibility criteria, then you should take steps to collate evidence in support of your application.  This should include evidence of a downturn in rent paid, including, where possible, details of any agreements reached with tenants regarding rent reductions and the passing through of further relief.

McInnes Wilson Lawyers are able to provide advice on issues relating to your eligibility for the 25% rebate, and guide you through the application process.

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