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Foreign owners of agricultural land: Register now

Published on 25 Feb 2016

Foreign agricultural land owners must notify the Tax Office if they hold agricultural land, acquire new agricultural land or dispose of agricultural land.  The new registration requirement came into force from July 2015 and all existing holdings must be registered by 29 February 2016.

The requirement applies to all “foreign persons” and includes an Australian citizen living permanently overseas that may be considered a foreign person as they are not ordinarily residing in Australia.  Foreign persons also includes foreign companies and trustees.

Where there are multiple owners of an agricultural land holding, each foreign owner has an obligation to register.  An agent may register on behalf of the foreign owner.

If the agricultural land is held under a lease with a remaining term (including options for renew or extension) likely to exceed five years, registration is required.

Land will meet the definition of agricultural land if it is used, or could reasonably be used, for a primary production business.

The following details must be provided:

  • Details of the owner;
  • FIRB approval number, if obtained;
  • Land location, size and usage details;
  • Land title information;
  • Date of the purchase, sale, etc.;
  • Sale price if transacted in the past twelve months; otherwise
  • The market value of the land including buildings or other structures;
  • How the registered owner holds its interest (individual, corporation, trust); and
  • Percentage ownership.

If you are an Australian resident, holding agricultural land and you become non-resident, then you must register within 30 days.  If you are a foreign person and become resident of Australia, you should apply to remove your details from the register.

 

Andrew and Tony Lovett

24 February 2016

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