The Australian Government has announced that from 1 July 2015 all foreign investors who hold an interest in Australian agricultural land are required to advise the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
These new requirements have been included in an updated version of Australia's Foreign Investment Policy and are expected to become a legislative requirement by December 2015.
The policy changes require foreign investors to notify the ATO:
- by 31 December 2015 if they have an existing interest in Australian agricultural land
- within 30 days if they acquire a new interest in Australian agricultural land
- if they cease owning Australian agricultural land.
The ATO has made an online notification system available. Foreign investors are required to provide information on the location and size of property, land use, market value and their percentage interest held. Foreign investors can make a notification personally or through an agent such as a lawyer.
The online notifications will be used to develop the Agricultural Land Register (the Register). The Register is intended to be made publicly available from 2016.
In its announcement, the Government stated that The Register is intended to strengthen reporting requirements and provide a clear and accessible picture of foreign ownership of agricultural land.
If you require any assistance in determining whether you are required to disclose an interest in Australian agricultural land to the ATO or if you believe you are required to report an interest, please contact Holding Redlich.
Author: Lisa Ward
Geoff Farnsworth, Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0416
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