Land tax foreign surcharge ex gratia relief guideline

The Queensland Government has released ex gratia relief guidelines for the land tax foreign surcharge, which will provide landowners the opportunity to apply to be excluded from the 2% foreign surcharge established in addition to the general rate of land tax.

The guidelines have been published as a Public Ruling - LTA000.4.1 – Guidelines for ex gratia relief from the land tax foreign surcharge.
Conditions contained in the guidelines seek to exclude foreign companies and trustees of foreign trusts whose commercial activities make a significant contribution to the Queensland economy and community. Where a foreign entity satisfies the conditions for ex gratia relief it will apply to all land owned by the foreign entity. Ex gratia relief will also apply for as long as the foreign entity satisfies these conditions.

Despite commitments from the Government to match the equivalent Victorian guidelines, the published ruling does not automatically exclude publicly listed and widely held trusts. This is a critical omission and will be the subject of further advocacy from the Property Council.

The Property Council thanks all members involved in the extensive advocacy campaign waged over the last 12 months to expand the conditions of ex gratia relief. The public ruling is a significant improvement on previous drafts of the guideline which would have only extended the relief to residential projects for a limit of three years.

The surcharge was waived for the 2019-20 land tax year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it will be assessed on land owned at 30 June 2020. These land tax assessments for the 2020-21 land tax year will be deferred for three months in another COVID-19 relief measure.

Information about how to apply for the relief, including relevant forms and evidence required, will be made available here.