A foreign buyer can be a natural person, a corporation, or a corporation acting as a trustee.
Foreign Investment Review Board
The Australian Government’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) decides whether a foreign buyer is eligible to acquire land in Australia.
In general, a foreign buyer of residential property (including vacant land) in Australia must obtain the FIRB’s approval of the purchase before entering into a An agreement that the law will enforce. of sale. There is an exception where a foreign buyer is purchasing a home with their Australian spouse as A form of ownership in which two or more people own property together, so that the whole property is undivided and equally shared. There are no separate shares that can be left in a will, because if one of the joint owners dies, the property remains with the other owners. Compare with tenants in common..
The FIRB’s powers to To make people obey a law or the terms of an agreement, using police powers or court orders. this requirement are extensive (e.g. the FIRB can order a sale to be reversed). The buyer may also have to pay A court order for money to be paid to someone to compensate them for a loss suffered as a result of a civil wrong or breach of contract. For example, a person who caused a serious permanent injury to another person can be ordered by the court to pay damages that compensate the injured person for their loss of income from being unable to work. See also aggravated damages; compensatory damages; general damages; liquidated damages; nominal damages; special damages. to the A seller. for breach of contract Failing to do what was agreed in a contract. if a sale is found to be Having no legal effect. A void agreement has something wrong with it, so it cannot be a legally binding contract. For example, a verbal agreement to buy land would be void, because the law says those contracts have to be in writing. because the buyer failed to obtain the FIRB’s approval.
For more information about the FIRB, see www.firb.gov.au.
Additional land transfer duty
If a buyer of property in Victoria is not one of the following:
- an Australian citizen;
- the holder of a permanent A permit that allows a person who is not a citizen to stay in a country on certain conditions, for the length of time stated in the visa.; or
- a New Zealand citizen holding a special category visa (sub-class 444),
- then the SRO assesses the duty payable on the transfer and adds eight per cent of the land transfer duty on the purchase price of the property. This rate applies to contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2019.
If you are a foreign buyer, you may be entitled to an exemption from paying an additional duty if you purchase a principal place of residence jointly with your spouse or domestic partner who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen who holds a special category visa.